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Warner, Webb vote to advance health reform bill

Amy Gardner

At 1 a.m. this morning, Virginia's two Democratic U.S. senators, Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner, voted yes on a procedural motion that allows a vote on final passage of the Senate health care reform bill by Christmas Eve.

Webb's and Warner's votes don't come as a terrible surprise, given that most of the attention in recent days was on two other senators whose votes were needed to get to 60 votes, the magic number to end debate: Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and the last holdout, Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

But this was a tough vote for Warner and Webb, who have campaigned and governed as centrists and who are all too aware of the political peril, especially in Virginia, of voting for a bill perceived by some to spend too much money, reduce Medicare benefits unacceptably and burden small business owners.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is already slamming Webb (who is up for reelection first, in 2012), calling him the "60th vote" that allowed health reform to advance "in the dead of night." Read the NRSC's full statement here. And Webb put out a statement of his own late Sunday defending his impending aye vote, which came "despite my disappointment with some sections of the bill."

"Most importantly, the status quo of our present system, which is damaging our national economy at many levels, is unacceptable," Webb wrote in a statement. "The spiraling costs for health care have become economically unsustainable at every level, from corporate America to our small business to individual policy holders. In addition, the billions of dollars spent on medical care for the uninsured is a burden borne not only by government at all levels, but also by tens of millions of others through higher taxes and insurance rates."

No statement just yet from Warner; we'll update this post if that changes.

By Amy Gardner  |  December 21, 2009; 9:36 AM ET
Categories:  Amy Gardner , James Webb , Mark Warner  
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Comments

Warner's a radical centrist!

Posted by: ChrisD4 | December 22, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

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