Approaching Today’s Finance Panel Vote, Predictions Take The Spotlight
Senate Finance Committee members Tuesday are preparing to cast their votes on health reform, with some offering predictions on the final outcome.
CongressDaily reports that Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said he expects Finance Democrats to unanimously back Sen. Max Baucus' package in the committee vote slated for Tuesday afternoon. "Nelson, a leading conservative Democrat on the panel, also holds out hope that it can win the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, which would allow Democrats to call the measure bipartisan. 'All the Democrats will vote for it to get it out of the committee and I am very hopeful and very optimistic that Olympia will as well,' Nelson said in an interview on MSNBC." Two Democrats on the committee have not said how they'll vote, however. Sen. Jay "Rockefeller did not say whether he would support the bill. Baucus is counting on the votes of Rockefeller and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., but the two have yet to pledge their votes for it." (Sanchez, 10/12)
The eyes of all lawmakers will be on Snowe, but she may risk losing an opportunity to become the top Republican on another committee if she votes with Democrats, The Hill reports: "A Senate Democrat on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee said Republicans on the panel are threatening to vote against Snowe, who is in line for the senior GOP post that is about to come open" when Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison leaves - as she's expected to - to run for governor of Texas (Bolton, 10/13).
Bloomberg reports that other Republicans could follow in the full Senate if Snowe votes for reform in committee: "A stamp of approval from Snowe could also clear the way for other Republicans, such as Senators Susan Collins of Maine and George Voinovich of Ohio, to back the effort. Collins joined with Snowe to support Obama's economic-stimulus package in February, and Voinovich has been pegged as a possible Republican vote for a health-care overhaul by lawmakers including his fellow Ohio senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown" (Dodge, 10/13).
In the meantime, the Des Moines Register reports that a solid Republican vote - Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa - is making his final vote on the bill known: No. "Grassley, the committee's ranking Republican, said he has no regrets about working with majority Democrats on the committee, only to oppose the bill. Given more time, he might have struck a deal, he said. ' I'm disappointed because I think another couple weeks of negotiation we might have had an agreement,' Grassley said" (Beaumont, 10/13).