Future historians may mark this vote as the day Obamacare died. Harry Reid was unable to have the senate invoke cloture and end debate on a bill which would dump 250 billion in medicare reimbursements over 10 years from the health care bill and throw it into the general budget deficit with no hint as to how this quarter of a trillion dollars would be paid for. In order to invoke cloture Reid needed 60 votes, he got 47. 13 Democrats joined all 40 Republicans in refusing to invoke cloture.
The whole purpose of this shell game was to improve the image of the health care bill by reducing the cost by 250 billion dollars. I guess the senators who voted against ending debate realize that most voters would be able to see through this inept attempt to reduce the cost by shuffling a mountain of red ink into the general deficit abyss.
I find this vote intriguing for a number of reasons.
First, it demonstrates yet again that Reid is a poor vote counter. He wasn’t even close.
Second, this was one of the necessary preliminary votes to ram Obamacare through the Senate. If Reid can’t get a bare majority on this, it is hard for me to see where he gets the votes on the tougher elements of Obamacare. After all, this vote would merely have added 250 billion to the deficit over 10 years. That isn’t even petty cash for this Congress.
Third, thirteen Democrat senators jumping ship is a clear indication of which way the political wind is blowing, and it isn’t blowing in favor of increasing the deficit or bringing on line a massive health care program.
Fourth, Obama has been pressing hard to save his health care initiative for weeks, and 13 Democrats turned a deaf air on an important vote to salvage his number one domestic priority. Obama isn’t a lame duck yet, but one can detect a bit of waddle in his gait and a few sub voce quacks.
Fifth, Reid now has to either pass health care with substantial tax increases to pay for it, or to pass it and add the costs on to the deficit. I am certain that neither option can pass the Senate.
However, if Reid does achieve the near miraculous and passes some bill with Health Care mentioned at the top, reconciliation should be a breeze with any bill passed by the House due to his his warm relationship with The Lying Worthless Political Hack, aka Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House.