Majority Leader Harry Reid got all up in those Republican hind parts today as this country moves one step closer to enacting universal health coverage for every citizen. Digging deep into the guilt bag, Harry stated, "Imagine if, instead of debating whether to abolish slavery, instead of debating whether giving women and minorities the right to vote, those who disagreed had muted discussion and killed any vote." OH SNAP! We playing the slavery card now, Harry? Pulling out all the stops, equal rights and all that? Go 'head on, do whatcha gotta do. That's a wee bit gangsta though… LOVE IT!
From Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — Invoking the memory of Edward M. Kennedy, Democrats united Saturday night to push historic health care legislation past a key Senate hurdle over the opposition of Republicans eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Barack Obama. There was not a vote to spare.
The 60-39 vote cleared the way for a bruising, full-scale debate beginning after Thanksgiving on the legislation, which is designed to extend coverage to roughly 31 million who lack it, crack down on insurance company practices that deny or dilute benefits and curtail the growth of spending on medical care nationally.
At the White House, press secretary Robert Gibbs issued a statement saying the president was gratified by the vote, which he says "brings us one step closer to ending insurance company abuses, reining in spiraling health care costs, providing stability and security to those with health insurance, and extending quality health coverage to those who lack it."
The legislation would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide subsidies to those who couldn't afford it. Large companies could incur costs if they did not provide coverage to their workforce. The insurance industry would come under significant new regulation under the bill, which would first ease and then ban the practice of denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions.
Congressional budget analysts put the legislation's cost at $979 billion over a decade and said it would reduce deficits over the same period while extending coverage to 94 percent of the eligible population.
At its core, the legislation would create insurance exchanges beginning in 2014 where individuals, most of them lower income and uninsured, would shop for coverage. The bill sets aside hundreds of billions of dollars in tax credits to help those earning up to 400 percent of poverty, $88,200 for a family of four.
The House approved its version of the bill earlier this month on a near party line vote of 220-215, and Reid has said he wants the Senate to follow suit by year's end. Timing on any final compromise was unclear.
All 58 Senate Democrats and two independents voted to advance the bill. All 39 votes in opposition were cast by Republicans. GOP Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio was the only senator not to vote. Montana Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee who has labored on health care for more than a year, flew in from his home state on a government plane for the vote and was returning afterward to be with his ailing mother.
After the Senate returns from Thanksgiving break, expect all matter of tomfoolery spirited debate to begin. Experts estimate that barring any unforeseen hurdles, the bill should be ready for a huddle-up with the House in four to six weeks. Come on Congress, all I want for Christmas is some Universal Healthcare! [okay, I want more than that, but go with me on the artistic metaphor.]
I somehow expect the ReThugs to drag this out in the most painful process possible. I'm already wincing at the bullshiggity they are about to drop on C-SPAN. Worst quote of the day came from Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), "Move over, Bernie Madoff. Tip your hat to a trillion-dollar scam." Le Sigh at this crass and poorly-chosen analogy. Just Le Sigh. Congrats Kit, you got your sound bite and still lost. Now GO. SIT. DOWN.
Today's actions bring us one step closer and for that I say – It's Cocktail Hour on Capitol Hill. Harry was beaming ear to ear, hugging and kissing caucus members like Santa Claus came down the chimney early. Ya'll wouldn't get with me on Nancy cabbage patching to Run this Town. How about if Harry could just get the Dems lined up for the Cupid Shuffle (which by the way, ain't nuthin' but the Electric Slide repurposed) and put some Wale Let It Loose on the loud speakers. No? Anyway, one small step for the Senate... you know the rest.
Any thoughts on today's win?