Snowe’s Vote Prompts Speculation About Broader Bipartisan Support
Democrats earned a single, coveted Republican vote for health reform legislation from Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, - in the Senate Finance Committee, bringing them closer to the goal of bipartisan support, the Boston Globe reports. "But, Republicans predictably are not as impressed." GOP chairman Michael Steele said "One Republican vote out of 40 in the Senate does not bipartisan make" (Rhee, 10/14).
Would two? "A second Republican senator signaled Wednesday she's open to voting for sweeping health care legislation this year, putting President Barack Obama closer to a historic achievement that has eluded generations of Democratic leaders," the Associated Press reports. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she supported Snowe's vote in committee, with the caveat that the bill needs to be improved to make coverage more affordable, protect Medicare funding, and better constrain costs (Alonso-Zaldivar, 10/14).
Collins said in a statement today that the bill "represents a substantial improvement over the costly and flawed alternative approved by the Senate Health Committee as well as the House bills," MSNBC reports. "Nevertheless, the Senate Finance Committee's bill falls short of the goal of providing access to more affordable health care for all Americans." She said she is "hopeful" that a compromise that addresses her areas of concern, like the legislation's impact on Medicare and small business, will be reached (Paice, 10/14).
Some House Republicans may also thaw to a more moderate version of the plan, Politico reports. "Even though they oppose the current House version of the bill, Republican Reps. Mike Castle, Jo Ann Emerson and Shelley Moore Capito all told POLITICO in the last week that they are leaving the door open to voting for a more moderate House-Senate compromise bill." Republicans who face competitive reelection races "could face pressure from home to get on board" (Allen, 10/14).