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John Ensign (R-Glenn Beck's America)

Over at Slate, Timothy Noah is liveblogging the Senate Finance markup. Good stuff. I didn't know, for instance, that the Senate checks out for Yom Kippur, but I'm rather delighted by it. This, however, I could have predicted:

The morning's first amendment is from Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev. It's called the Transparency in Czars amendment (No. 409,) but it could also be called the Who Does Nancy-Ann DeParle Think She Is? amendment. DeParle is the White House health reform director. Under the amendment, she couldn't keep her job unless the Senate confirmed her. There ensues an unedifying argument between Democrats and Republicans about whether DeParle really is a czar. (Don't they mean czarina?) The amendment fails on a party line. Once again, swing-voting Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, votes for an idiotic partisan Republican amendment.

Glenn Beck really does rule their world.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 25, 2009; 11:14 AM ET
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It may be a string of coincidence (unlikely!), but from the dozen or so votes I watched, Snowe is clearly independent of party.

When it doesn't matter, she might go party line. When it does matter, she goes independent, I've seen.

Posted by: HalHorvath | September 25, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

HalHorvath raises a good point: even an "independent-voting" senator or representative is expected to go along with the party when the vote doesn't really matter. It's part of their job, and it keeps the legislator in the good graces of his/her party without actually affecting things one way or the other.

They do have to sacrifice personal pride, their soul, and the ability to look at themselves in the mirror, but I suppose that's a small price to pay in exchange for being in the US Senate.

Posted by: constans | September 25, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Nancy-Ann DeParle was in charge of Medicare and Medicaid for the last three years of the Clinton Administration. She was confirmed to that post on a voice vote. Thus, none of the current Republicans, who were also in office at that time, thought she was controversial enough to request a roll call vote much less vote against her nomination.

Posted by: Vadranor | September 25, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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