The game is on in the Senate! Yesterday the health care reform bill got exactly the 60 votes it needed to open the debate on the actual bill, so as of this weekend it is up for official consideration. This is adding an incredible final piece of drama to the health care reform push by Obama- what will happen with the 60 democrats in the senate- will they support the president and his initiative? That’s already not happening across the board, so I don’t think we have to worry about blind party loyalty. What about
Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu finally agreed to support the motion to put the bill up for debate and on the floor but balked at guaranteeing that they would support it in the final vote- they alluded that there would need to be some changes.
"I believe that it is more important that we begin this debate to improve our nation's healthcare system for all Americans rather than just simply drop the issue and walk away," said Lincoln.
That seems to be the MO for the democrats- resist, resist, complain and waver about support but in the end support it because, and this may be the case: None of the Democrats want to be THAT GUY. The one who the rest of the senate can point at and say- we would have had universal health care if it weren’t for _____.
But will that kind of thinking be enough to actually get the bill passed? That remains to be seen, but right now I think it’s the best thing this bill has going for it.
Official debate begins on November 30 and should last 3 week. (Note: Our senate is just getting to the argument about health care as the rest of the world is on its way to a now meaningless Copenhagen summit- do not shrug off the irony that the senate is basically deciding whether or not to take care of American citizens even as they fail to show any sign of even caring whether the UN can make an attempt to take care of the entire Earth. If there is one thing that we know for sure, it is that the senate, as part of the U.S. government, will always act with singular self-interest.)
Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama, "looks forward to a thorough and productive debate." Right. I’ll bet he didn’t sleep the night before and just about crapped in his pants. Or maybe he is cool as a cucumber the way he appears to be- but right now his entire political career is basically on the line. If he wins this, his top domestic agenda item will become law before the mid-term elections and he and his party will go into them looking strong. If he loses, there will be TIME magazine articles for weeks about how little he has gotten done and whether he is a lame duck president just a year into his first term.
It’s a big deal.
But it is under debate in the senate, we know that for sure. So cheers to you, senate, and let’s make it happen.