Health bill clears another hurdle, is Radio Covering?

Health bill clears another hurdleThe Senate health care bill took another step closer to passage Tuesday morning, moving ahead on a straight party-line vote during an unusual early morning session. Tuesday’s 60-39 vote was the second in a series of three procedural motions to wind down debate on the measure and move it to final passage Christmas Eve — a vote that now could take place as late as 10 p.m. that night, under the current Senate schedule.But the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, hinted that Republicans may be willing to allow the final vote to take place before the night before Christmas.”We are working on an agreement that will give certainty to the way to end this session, and hopefully the two of us together can be recommending something that makes sense for both sides in the not too distant future,” McConnell said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).Republicans are expected to discuss the vote’s timing at their policy lunch Tuesday.Just before McConnell spoke, Reid made an appeal for more civility on the Senate floor, after the rancorous debate so far on the health care bill.”I would hope that everyone would go back to their gentlemanly ways,” Reid said. “And I hope everyone will, as I’ve said to a number of people, [recall] Rodney King: ‘Let’s just all try to get along.’ “The vote lacked the drama of the Monday morning session, where Democrats proved they could hold all 60 members of the caucus together to advance President Barack Obama’s top legislative goal. Senators filtered into the chamber as the sun was rising, a contrast to the dead-of-night vote at 1 a.m. Monday.For the second time this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was on hand in the Capitol to watch the debate.But if the setting was a bit sleepy, the rhetoric remained just as strong, as Republicans such as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) continued to attack the bill as a dangerous overreach and Democrats defended it as a badly need fix for an ailing system.The vote will decide “whether we are ending the current system in America, a system that currently rations care and says to 50 million Americans, you don’t have coverage. . . . We need to bring that system to an end,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)Given the Senate’s schedule, and rigid rules about the timing and length of debate, all 60 senators have to come together three times before the final vote, originally scheduled for 7 p.m. Christmas Eve. This vote starts the next 30-hour clock on debate — meaning the third and final procedural vote would be about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday — but the timing could push the Christmas Eve vote to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.Democrats are clearly hoping the Republicans will relent. Reid (D-Nev.) made an appeal on the floor Tuesday morning to turn down the temperature. “‘This is time we figure out a way to leave here in a peaceful nature,” Reid said shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday.Reid met with McConnell on Monday, but as of then, Republicans were sticking to their plan to keep the Senate in session until the night before Christmas, saying it was the Democrats who were forcing the vote on the holiday week, not the GOP.Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he has an early-morning flight on Christmas and wasn’t changing his plans. “I am keeping my reservation for Christmas Day morning, and I am very happy as a citizen of this country, who cares deeply about the indebtedness that we have, I am very happy to keep it that way,” Corker said.Tuesday’s vote came as a new Quinnipiac poll showed that American voters “mostly disapprove” of the health reform plan by a margin of 53 percent to 35 percent. They also disapprove of Obama’s hand ling of health care, 56 percent to 38 percent.Voters also break 3 to 1 against using government money to pay for abortions, by a margin of 72 percent to 23 percent. The House and Senate have different mechanisms to ban federal funding of abortions, but the issue will be a controversial part of the final negotiations to merge the bills.via [source]

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