Crossover Vote Or Lost Cause? Maine Sen. Collins’ Reform Vote Examined
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine's junior senator, has a lot of people asking her which way she's leaning on supporting health care reform. And she's remaining mum.
The Washington Post reports that both she and her Maine colleague, Sen. Olympia Snowe have supported other controversial Democratic proposals before, like the $787 billion stimulus. "But for Collins, with her roots in small business and closer connections to the party infrastructure, the question of whether to back a Democrat-sponsored $900 billion package is more problematic." She's telling people she hasn't made her mind up yet (Connolly, 10/22).
In the meantime, Sen. Tom Harkin, the new Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman, is waiting to fill the large shoes of Sen. Edward Kennedy, Roll Call reports. "But when it comes to Kennedy's top priority - an overhaul of the nation's health care system - Harkin is very much on the outside looking in. Asked if the move undermines Harkin's leadership of HELP and his imprint on the historic legislation, Harkin replied: 'No. Look, I just want to get the bill done, OK? [Dodd] shepherded this bill, did an excellent job, and I thought, in consultation with others, it would be best to keep him on'" (Brady, 10/22).
Meanwhile, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, is making his voice heard on the health overhaul, telling CongressDaily that he believes allowing states to opt out of a national public option could work out well to pick up some moderates' votes (Edney, 10/22).
Finally, Sen. John Thune is saying that the closed-door health bill negotiations being conducted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid goes against President Obama's promise to make the process transparent, the (South Dakota) Argus Leader reports (Martin, 10/22).