Tester: Hey, I was only the 52nd vote for ObamaCare!

posted at 9:30 am on March 24, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

For the past year, the NRSC has run ads against Senate Democrats labeling them as the “60th vote” for ObamaCare, the enabler of the legislation to pass into law.  Until now, none of them have been foolish enough to dispute this claim and engage the NRSC on its own terms.  Thankfully, Jon Tester of Montana has decided to clarify matters … by producing video of his vote to support the bill:

Here’s a line Democratic Sen. Jon Tester can expect to hear a lot from Republicans over the next year and a half: He was “the 60th vote” for the health care law.

That’s how the National Republican Senatorial Committee phrased it Wednesday to remind Montana voters that Tester — who’s facing a tough race for reelection next year — supported the law. His opponent, Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, not only opposed the law known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but is also trying to cut off the funding for it.

Tester’s office was ready, though. His aides e-mailed the video of the Senate roll call vote in December 2009 — which clearly shows Tester casting the 52nd vote.

Who was the actual 60th vote?  Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who would have plenty of problems even if he and Tester had switched positions.  Between the vote itself, the Cornhusker Kickback, and Nelson’s sell-out of his stated pro-life principles, he’ll be lucky if he can buy pizza in Nebraska ever again.

But in truth, every Democrat in the Senate was the 60th and deciding vote.  Had one of them decided not to vote for cloture, the bill would have died on the floor of the Senate, and Barack Obama would have had to work with Republicans for actual reform in health-care finances.  Whether that vote got cast as the 52nd vote, the 14th vote, the first or the last, each and every Democrat in the Senate had the personal and individual opportunity to stop ObamaCare.

If Tester wants a public debate on the relative merits of voting 52nd instead of 60th on ObamaCare, though, I’m sure the NRSC would be happy to oblige him.


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