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Handicapping Tomorrow's Finance Committee Vote


The Finance Committee will vote on health-care reform tomorrow.* Jon Cohn runs down the five senators his sources tell him could swing: Bill Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Jay Rockefeller, Ron Wyden and Olympia Snowe. Ceci Connolly, in a nice overview piece, notes that Rockefeller and Wyden have been very public in refusing to pledge support for the bill.

From what I hear, there are no real swing votes. There are senators who, for tactical or political reasons, might vote against the bill. But the people I talk to don't believe there is a single Democrat on the committee who would actually imperil the legislation's chances. Anyone whose vote is needed will vote for the bill. But if the bill is going to pass comfortably, you might see Snowe withhold her vote to strengthen her negotiating position on the floor of the Senate, or Lincoln hold back because she's worried about her political standing in Arkansas, or Wyden hold back because he's genuinely unimpressed with the legislation and infuriated at how he's been treated. But the bill will pass, and easily. That means health-care reform will have passed all five relevant committees, and is moving toward the floor of the House and the Senate, and after that, the president's desk.

Update: Later this week, or maybe early next.

Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 5, 2009; 11:02 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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i think most have assumed it'll get through committee which I hope it does. This truly is the only bipartisan bill out there and that's what the President said he wants if he can get it.

That being said, it'll be interesting how Reid blends drastic differences in the HELP committee bill (public option)to this one and then how that gets blended with the more liberal house bill before it reaches the President.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 5, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm happy that visionbrkr is willing to confront the reality that a bill supported by the wide range of Democrats is for all intents and purposes bipartisan even if Republicans rejected it entirely. All Democrats want health reform-- conservative, moderate, and liberal. The conservative Dems are going to ultimately have to give up their fight against the public option, though.

Posted by: constans | October 5, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse


I said the Finance committee bill is bipartisan, the rest are not.

oh i'm a realist, the question is are you?

When you have 40 republicans voting against a bill that includes a public option will you get one conservative democrat or independent that does likewise? Lincoln, Lieberman, Nelson, etc. etc.

All you need is one to step outside your ranks and you've got problems.

And then why is it conservative democrats that need to give up their fight. Why isn't it liberal democrats that give up the public option to ensure we have some reform, albeit not their best alternative.

If liberal democrats vote against the reforms if they don't include a public option they'll be just as responsible for the continuation of pre-ex and the further death spiral of our system of healthcare as the Republicans will. Now the Republicans will get all the blame and much of it deservedly so but they also will share blame.

Oh and I've said all along I'm 100% for reform, just the right kind of reform that includes everything in the current Senate Finance version. My postion hasn't changed one iota.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 5, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, Baucus did abuse Wyden pretty bad.

Posted by: adamiani | October 5, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Why do so many people want a "bipartisan" bill rather than a "good" bill?

Posted by: AlanSF | October 5, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Why do so many people want a "bipartisan" bill rather than a "good" bill?

Posted by: AlanSF | October 5, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

because when it goes SO FAR OFF THE TRACKS, does nothing to help people and costs continue to skyrocket the current minority party if no one signs on can say,
"see, we told you so" and then Democrats won't see the light of day for another 16+ years or longer.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 5, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

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