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Snowe Says She'll Vote 'Yes' on Finance Committee Health Bill


Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me) takes questions from reporters on Capitol Hill.
(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg).

By Sarah Lovenheim
Updated 1:20 p.m.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) said that she will vote for the $829 billion reform legislation under review by the Senate Finance Committee. She said her support signals her desire to "continue the process" of reviewing reform legislation and should not be interpreted as a "yes" vote on all health care reform bills under consideration in Congress.

"Is this bill all that I would want? Far from it.... But when history calls, history calls," she said. Snowe's decision marks a victory for Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) who has pushed for bipartisan support of the bill since introducing it months ago.

Earlier
Today marks the day in which the Senate Finance Committee votes on its highly debated health-care bill, when senators who have wavered over which way to vote must make up their minds. Committee members are expected to meet at 10 a.m. to discuss the bill one more time and then to vote a few hours later. Here's a look at some of the pressure one swing-vote senator's facing in the hours leading up to the vote.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) is still the senator that "everyone is watching," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to USA Today's Kathy Kiely and John Fritz.

Catherine Dodge of Bloomberg News looks back on Snowe's childhood days and concludes that her independent nature, which makes her "a pivotal figure today," is inherent.

As an orphan at age nine, she took the train alone from boarding school in upstate New York to Maine to see relatives on weekends and holidays. "When the rail connections didn't match up, she sometimes spent the night alone in New York's Grand Central Station," wrote Dodge.

At one point, a policeman "thought Snowe was a runaway." Snowe told Dodge, "He couldn't believe it... He called my aunt and then he called the school and found out, no, I wasn't."

Although a vote from the Republican senator today would signal some bipartisan support for the bill, critics of the bill say one Republican senator's support is not enough to frame the bill as a bipartisan measure. "There's clear, unambiguous ownership by congressional Democrats and the president," said Michael Franc, vice president for government relations at the Heritage Foundation, according to David Lightman of McClatchy Newspapers.

Snowe was one of a few Republican senators to vote with Democrats back in February to pass President Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus bill and despite those few extra Republican nods of support, "the stimulus is rarely seen as a bipartisan effort, and conservatives aren't likely to see a Snowe vote adding that label to health care legislation," wrote Lightman.

Regardless of whether her vote allows Democrats to say they received some bipartisan support, Snowe's "risking a shot" because her vote could impact her future on other committees, according to The Hill's Alexander Bolton.

"A vote for health care would be something that would weigh on our minds when it came time to vote," said a Republican on Commerce, who said Snowe would otherwise be a shoe-in for the ranking member post if not for the health care debate.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.), the senior Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, is expected to leave her position to run for governor in the coming weeks, according to Bolton.

Republicans on the Commerce committee will choose Hutchison's replacement and although "seniority is usually the most important consideration... party loyalty could trump that," said Bolton.

"A vote for healthcare would be something that would weigh on our minds when it came time to vote," a Republican on Commerce told Bolton.

By Washington Post editors  |  October 13, 2009; 8:32 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform , Swing Senators  
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Next: Insurers and Liberals Take Their Fracas to the Airwaves

Comments

Senator Snowe should go ahead and switch parties ala Arlen Specter. Her heart is obviously not that of a true conservative, and she seems to be constantly struggling with the major issues of the day as to whether to stick to the Republican program or go with the role of maverick. Enough! We need people we can depend on, and she ain't one of them. The argument will be made that she is working for the best solutions, and many will say those solutions will not originate from the right. O.K., Fine! Just jump ship so we can differentiate between friend and foe.

Posted by: ddnfla | October 13, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

DDNFLA should back off. Just because Senator Snowe does not vote 100% of the time with the conservatives in her party does not mean that she should abandon the Republican Party. It's thinking like this that keeps the Republican Party in the minority status. I would rather be the majority party with some independent thinkers, than to be a fixed minority of so-called "true believers."

Posted by: 1986JD | October 13, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Healthcare reform needs a “Parody Option.” Check out “Healthcare Fighting (King Fu Mix)” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nc1VwJOb9Y

Posted by: thincaboutit | October 13, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats are going to have to learn. They can't count on any Republicans. And the insurance companies have told us all what they are going to do. Their report may be a piece of junk, but it does announce an immediate raise in health insurance premiums of $4,000. After all they have to keep the billions coming in and the huge bonuses going to their CEOs.

The answer? Democrats, pass a Strong Public Option Plan. Otherwise the insurance companies will just blackmail the government and the people like they always have. They've already told you that in a corporation-sponsored report released one day before the vote what they plan to do. And if you do nothing, premiums will still double every ten years with less coverage. You can't beat these people. You have to give them real competition.

Stand up and pass either a single payer system (we can all buy into Medicare) or a strong Public Option Plan.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | October 13, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't surprise me one bit if the GOP shot themselves in the foot (again!) by denying Snow her rightful place as Ranking Member of Commerce.

Ideology trumps all. They did it with Wayne Gilcrest. They did it when they snubbed Tom Davis (who could have beaten Webb) and instead chose Jim Gilmore(?!).

They need to bring back the Mark Hatfileds, and the Mac MAthias's.

Unless they actively work to recruit and support moderates in primaries they will will never be a big tent party.

Posted by: DROSE1 | October 13, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

63 years old and Snowe still has black hair?

That's a lie right there.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | October 13, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Why if when someone has a different view and decides not to follow the party line, that person is no longer a friend but a foe? Grow up RWCs.

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | October 13, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Really, people, how did we get to the ridiculous position in the democratic party, of waiting breathlessly to see how Olympia Snowe will vote ? All in the name of bipartisanship. This is the most ridiculous side show I've seen in quite a while.

Posted by: rbe1 | October 13, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

ddnfla, I agree. Snowe should definitely turn Democrat to bolster their 60+ vote majority. That is definitely something the Rs should be pushing her to do every day of the week.

Posted by: greenmountainboy | October 13, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Snowe lives too close to Canada. She will probably vote with the Democrats and like the Canadians, the U.S. will start down the path of universal healthcare. Everyone will have access to affordable healthcare and the insurance industry and current healthcare providers will have to completely overhaul their businesses. Better 40 years later than all the U.S. aliies, than never.

Posted by: rickleask | October 13, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Congressional republicans are pathetic.

Posted by: zackool | October 13, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

She's going to vote for it.

The exception that proves the rule that every other Republican is a heartless S O B

Posted by: RealityBeatsPerception | October 13, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

She is not needed. Go without the GOP, purposely. They should be forever ignored.

Posted by: johng1 | October 13, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I am a Republican and were I Senator Snowe, I would be supporting health care reform. I will not allow ddnfla to push me out of my party.

Posted by: richardshaker | October 13, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The woman is funny.
What a clown.

Not listening to the will of the majority got all of their names here.


BEAR REVOLT was started by Veterans ( Czar nick named terrorists) seeking to empower the active troops with a clear documentation of the majority's will of the people, via petitions (signatured by all men women and children who have No Confidence this 2009 Federal Government). The signed petitions are being entered into County recordations offices as a "recorded document", then pooled, and placed as a" Document" into the Library of Congress by the people of each State.
The well documented majority with " no confidence" can allow the defenders of the US Constitution the ability to carry out the "will of the majority", and allow an emergency election to void all signatures of the current Fed 2009..
This Redress call was named when Pelosi went to THE BEAR REPUBLIC California , threw imported ACORNS at their heads,
then called them astroturf , and walked on their backs with her spikey heels out the door , refusing to listen to them.

PETITION:

The REDRESS of the 2009 Federal Government of the United States of America
For NO CONFIDENCE
By the recall of :
The Congress, (all names listed both Partys)
The Hill , ( all names listed both Partys)
The Cabinet, (all names listed)
The Czars, ( all names listed)
Barack Hussein Obama ( all "currently" known names listed: Barack Hussein Soroeto, Barack Hussein Dunham )


Posted by: dottydo | October 13, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it interesting that Snowe hasn't yet voted, and already she's a RINO (according to ddnfla)? And that only conservatives (whatever that means; it changes so much) need apply? And that she's a foe to "the Republican program"? (beyond anti-Obamaism, I don't know what that is either). I await others of like mind forming a chorus of disapproval (after the vote) and further marginalizing themselves.

Posted by: bitterblogger | October 13, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

She is a shrew!

Posted by: affirmativeactionpresident | October 13, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Bravo to Senator Snowe, the lone Republican voice of reason on the Finance Committee.

Posted by: gce1356 | October 13, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Why if when someone has a different view and decides not to follow the party line, that person is no longer a friend but a foe? Grow up RWCs.
Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | October 13, 2009 10:53 AM |
=======================

This is the modern day (ever-shrinking) Republican Party.

Posted by: gce1356 | October 13, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Snowe should switch parties. She clearly thinks like a statist; so she should flock with the other statists. I left the GOP as well - no longer do they carry a conservative agenda. Seems like both parties favor robbing from the hard working class and redistributing to the lazy, uproductive class.

This explains it all...

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.
A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a black man or Hispanic are conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed.
If a liberal slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like he's in labor and then sues.

Posted by: NO-bama | October 13, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Boy, there's a real surprise. The last of the RINOs. Snowe should be given the Arlen Specter award.

Posted by: BubbaRight | October 13, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

@NO-bama

This explains it all... (obviously this is full of gross over-generalizations, but turnabout is fair play)

If a conservative likes guns, he makes them available to 12 year olds.

If a conservative eats meat or uses fossil fuels, he doesn't care about destroying the environment to obtain them.

Conservatives see foreign threats everywhere. Even where there are none.

If a conservative is not homosexual, black, or Hispanic, he does not care about the basic civil rights of those groups of people.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he blames illegal immigrants, and tries to get all the Hispanics deported.

If a conservative is offended by a talk show host saying something inappropriate about a conservative politician's daughter, he will complain bitterly about it for months.

If a conservative is religious, he uses his religion to judge others, and ignores what his good book says about being a good person.

If a conservative gets sick and decides he needs health care, he will become broke paying for health care. Just like the rest of us.

If a conservative slips and falls in a store, he blames illegal immigrants. And Obama.

Posted by: willmicnaughty | October 13, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

This is a gift to the insurance industry. No public option assures us more increases and more abuse to consumers by an unnecessary middleman, the insurance company. Reconciliation is the next move with a public option. Bush did it twice to get the tax cuts for the rich, and t push through the unfunded drug bill.

Posted by: garage | October 13, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

ddnfla, Snowe is doing exactly what others should be doing, regardless of their party. Proceeding with caution yet working towards change that most Americans want and need. You can stick your head in the sand and try to deny that America wants change, you can listen to Rush and become one of his Ditto-heads, pledging blind allegiance to the party, or you can work the middle ground and try to do the very things that got ever member of Congress and the Senate elected, to do the will of the people. You can argue in particular states there may not be as strong a position as in other states for those that favor health care reform, but overwhelmingly Americans support it.

Not all Democrats support health care reform and some have concerns about paying for it. The review by the finance office indicates that reform will be cost neutral in ten years saving 89 billion dollars. Of course that is as the bill is drafted right now.

My guess, the do nothing Republican Party will now try to heap loads of BS into the bill on the floor ensuring that it is not cost neutral, you see, because although they are the do nothing party, in the end they will try any means to sink this. Heck this is the party that hates Obama so much they were happy to see someplace else get the Olympic Games just so they wouldn't have to acknowledge even a small success by Obama.

Republicans are now the party of extremists and they will grow even smaller with each passing day of inactivity, Americans as a whole are sick of this kind of politics and only hard liners will support them which will not carry the day at election time.

Keep listening to Rush! You guys are like rats on a sinking ship following a blind captain that is popping oxy's faster than he can get his hands on them. Even football recognizes that Rush is so far from mainstream that he would never be considered for the franchise he has bid on with his partner. Many players have come forward and said they would never play on a team owned by him, he is a polarizing figure and really cares only about ratings and making money. It's the only business he has and if he didn't talk about politics who the heck would ever listen to him... only the ditto-heads I guess.

Posted by: me8980109 | October 13, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

LOL willmicnaughty - the difference between my list and yours is, my list is accurate whereas yours is, as you admit, gross-misrepresentation...But a good laugh anyway.

Posted by: NO-bama | October 13, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.
A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a black man or Hispanic are conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed.
If a liberal slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like he's in labor and then sues.

(And the final one - I left out just to see if I would get a liberal hit - and Willmcnaughty wins! congrats! -

If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete or counter it with strange accustations and mis-representations because he's "offended".

Posted by: NO-bama | October 13, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

She voted yes because "when history calls, history calls" What does that mean?
Besides making life even harder for my kids as they grow up.

Posted by: annoyedprivatecitizen | October 13, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

She voted yes because "when history calls, history calls" What does that mean?
Besides making life even harder for my kids as they grow up.

Posted by: annoyedprivatecitizen | October 13, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

It's funny how the Republicans still think what they say or think is important, it isn't ... WAKE UP.

Posted by: wasaUFO | October 13, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

How about this one:

When a liberal wants a gun, he buy a handgun which he can reasonable wield in his defense. A conservative buys an arsenal that would make an airborne division proud and could annihilate a forest of deer in thirteen seconds.
When liberal wants to be a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. A conservative...ha ha ha, that's never happened.
When a liberal sees a foreigner, he sees a chance to broaden his horizons. A conservative sees someone to bomb and force to bow to Jesus.
When a liberal is a homosexual, he wants the same freedom every American has to pursue happiness and live his life in harmony with all. A conservative covers it up to placate judgmental constituents and pretends to be a loving heterosexual husband.
If a minority is a liberal, he recognizes the inclusiveness and open-mindedness of his fellow liberals. A conservative minority is rare and usually a sexist homophobe, religious extremist, or financially well-off.
A down-and-out liberal looks to help his fellow man rise with him out of the crisis. A conservative climbs over others to get his bonus even if it means the ruination of thousands of peoples' lives.
A liberal ignores a lying fool who is only out for ratings with no thought of truth or proof. A conservative suffers any fool who validates his extreme views, and repeats blatant lies as verified fact.
A non-believing liberal respects all religions, none above another. A conservative repeatedly insists this is a Christian nation and proclaims to know for certain the will of God, which he demands you accept.
A liberal who has healthcare thinks everyone else should have it, too. A conservative thinks since he has it, everything is cool.
When a liberal falls in a store, another liberal offers a hand to help him up. When a conservative falls in a store, other conservatives stare and call him a drunk.

Posted by: DAMNEDGENTLEMEN | October 13, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

@NO-bama

not "offended".

oh and i did forward that list to my friends so they could have a good laugh ;)

Posted by: willmicnaughty | October 13, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

snow is a traitor to america,and the future of the children,and anyone who supports this is the same. she and two other republican traitors also voted for the famous intercourse bill,known as stimulous. the selling out of our country is almost complete. go ahead,and support the downfall of our childrens future,but i will make sure my children KNOW that i was against all the agenda of the muslim mafia and world globalist.
by the way,next year,when you go to the store to buy a loaf of bread,be sure to take at least six dollars with you.
those who dont learn from history,are doomed to repeat it,and those who think it will be better,are fools.

Posted by: silusdogood | October 13, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

silus-

"Lighten up, Francis." -Sgt. Hulka

Posted by: DAMNEDGENTLEMEN | October 14, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday (10/13/2009)my mother received a letter from General Motors. GM sent out a letter to retired/former employees and announced they will no longer provide medical coverage to people who worked over 20 years of their lives at GM.

My mother and her husband no longer have insurance.

My mother and her husband are extremely worried. He put in 38 years at GM and now sees a major part of his retirement package gone. My brother-in-law faces the same fate, and retired from the same factory.

My mother has had 3 cancer operations (lost both breasts) and 2 major strokes; he just had a rectal cancer operation a few months ago; the brother-in-law had a major heart attack on the shop floor 3 years ago and my sister has had 5 hip operations over the coarse of her life.

Where are these people going to get health insurance?

Mom is in a panic. Just one medication they bought yesterday and had to pay out of pocket cost $155 for a month supply (they each take about 10 pills a day). He came home and told her they need to speak to the doctor about all the meds they need and how to reduce the cost.

These are hardworking Americans who spent their lives working for a company they trusted and saving to enjoy retirement in their paid for home. They are freaking out.

Posted by: morenews1 | October 14, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

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