Snowe Becomes Less Prominent In Health Debate, McCain More Partisan
News outlets report on some of the key players in the health care debate, including Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, both Democrats, and Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif.
Roll Call: "Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) has been bitten once by Democrats, but the question that remains is whether she will be twice as shy when the Senate passes judgment on a health care reform bill later this month. Snowe remains one of the votes most coveted by the White House and Senate Democratic leaders because she would represent the scent of bipartisanship in the face of a nearly united GOP opposition. But her role in the process became less prominent after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) decided to pursue a Democrat-only strategy in bringing the measure to the floor" (Pierce, 12/7).
NPR interviewed Sen. Gregg about a memo he wrote to Republican senators that "insists the minority party 'must use the tools we have under Senate rules to insist on a full, complete and fully-informed debate on health care legislation.' Those tools include quorum calls, points of order and filibusters." Gregg says the idea that tips in the memo are intended to slow down the Senate is "absurd" (Simon, 12/5).
Los Angeles Times: "McCain still strikes his signature pose as war hero and scourge of special interests, but in other ways McCain is cutting a very different profile than he did before he ran for president in 2008. Gone is the maverick bridge-builder who bucked his party on high-voltage issues such as immigration, climate change and campaign finance reform. As the GOP has settled on a strategy of unremitting opposition to the Obama agenda, McCain has been front and center on the attack." And on health care, McCain has "led the charge in trying to stir older Americans into opposition." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., calls him a "fabulous team player All I can tell you is that, in this Congress and post-campaign era, Sen. McCain has been incredible" (Hook, 12/7).
The Denver Post: "Colorado's Democratic senators [Mark Udall and Michael Bennet] are joining their freshman colleagues in a broad effort to fix sweeping health care legislation that critics say does too little to rein in the galloping cost of delivering health care in America. Eleven first-term Democrats will announce Tuesday a 'freshmen package' of more than a dozen amendments that take on everything from bureaucratic red tape to the fee-for-service model on which most health care in the United States is based" (Riley, 12/7).
McClatchy: Rep. Capps is "one of the most liberal members of the U.S. House, a longtime advocate of universal health care. And she said she's thrilled to be a member of a Congress that's on the verge of passing a historic overhaul of the nation's health care system, legislation that she says was first proposed by Teddy Roosevelt and that 'means everything to me.' In a high-stakes battle, she's also threatening to vote against the bill because one issue is even more important to her: abortion. At 71, Capps' name has suddenly become synonymous with defending abortion rights on Capitol Hill, and she's engaged in one of the biggest fights of her nearly 12-year congressional career" (Hotakainen, 12/6).