Pressure Mounts on Snowe, Rockefeller and Wyden
Updated and corrected 11:02 a.m.
By Sarah Lovenheim
Passage of a health-care bill out of the Senate Finance Committee hinges on whether Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) can reap enough votes from the member of his panel, which is composed of 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans. Here's some of the latest buzz surrounding the swing-vote senators, illustrating the pressure they're under as they approach a decision.
IBD: 'Another Snowe Job?'
Investors' Busines Daily (IBD) asked today, is Congress in for "Another Snowe Job?" Before the lone Republican considering voting for the Baucus bill makes a decision, the financial publication wants Snowe to review health care in her home state. Maine pushed for universal coverage in 2003 to cover 128,000 uninsured residents but today, IBD says it covers just 3,400. Kerri Houston Toloczko, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Liberty, told IBD that "the system was so broke that it closed to new enrollees." IBD's conclusion? Before making up her mind, "the least Sen. Snowe should do is consider the damage that similar legislation has done to her own small state."
Kyl: 'I Don't Know Where She's Going to Be'
In an interview late Monday on FOX News Channel's "On the Record w/Greta Van Susteren," Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) said that although he'd like Snowe to oppose the bill, he's unclear about how she'll vote.
Kyl: "I don't know what Senator Snowe will do, but I know right now that she's very concerned about the cost of the bill and the fact that the Congressional Budget Office is not able to provide us with an accurate cost of what the bill is... We've only been talking in concepts so far, and they say that their cost estimate could differ significantly once it's put into actual legislative language. So she's taking the position until she sees that, she's not going to commit. And so I don't know where she's going to be at the end of the day."
Daily Kos to Rockefeller and Wyden: 'Continue to Hold Out'
The liberal blog Daily Kos is calling on Democratic Senators Ron Wyden (Ore.) and John D. Rockefeller (W.Va.) to keep pressuring Senate Finance Committee colleagues to vote for the sort of bill they want, regardless of calls to compromise.
Daily Kos cited an interview Wyden participated in Sunday, in which he urged Congress to hold insurance companies accountable to hold down premiums, as the sort of argument that should continue ahead of a vote count. "It's more likely than not that the bill will pass out of Senate Finance.... But hopefully Wyden and Rockefeller will get some concessions out of Reid and the White House to make that happen, so for now, they should continue to hold out," it concluded.
Forbes Magazine on Wyden: 'He'll Get Another Chance'
Forbes Magazine writes that although "one can almost hear the corks popping along K Street as industry lobbyists celebrate" since the health bill lacks provisions requiring special interests to cede much in terms of market share, Wyden's influence in the debate could change this.
His fight for more consumer options, according to Forbes, isn't over. Wyden's amendment to provide consumers with more choice in insurance coverage was omitted from the Committee's bill last week but he could "get another chance to add it when the full Senate takes up health care reform in the coming weeks."
This item originally incorrectly stated the number of Republicans on the committee.
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