Red State has the red siren up. But why?
Senate sources confirm to me this evening that Senator Mitch McConnell and his leadership team are trying to scuttle Republican efforts to force a vote on repeal of the entire health care legislation during the reconciliation process. I’m told reliably that moderate Republican senators who voted against Obamacare in December do not want to vote against it again because it would just be “symbolic”.
I assume the outrage here is due to the squishy RINOs not wanting to piss off blue-staters with another vote on the record against O-Care. I’m skeptical of that — they already bit the bullet in December and the bill hasn’t gotten appreciably more popular since then, so why blink now? — but assuming it’s true, how about patting ’em on the back for having hung together with the party and sparing them a vote they don’t want to take? Vitter’s amendment accomplishes nothing: Like every GOP proposal offered in tonight’s vote-o-rama, it’s doomed to fail, but unlike most of the others, it won’t even succeed in making Democrats squirm. Coburn had the right idea with the Viagra amendment, as that’s at least potentially useful in attack ads. What does Vitter’s amendment do except remind people that, yes indeed, the Senate still supports the bill that it passed three months ago?
Here’s the full list of amendments, by the way, and here’s the updated roll call on amendments voted on thus far. Nothing yet on the Viagra amendment but that’ll be a golden moment. Consider this an open thread if you’re tuned into C-SPAN2 and following along. A little mood music for you while you watch…
Update: Via AHFF Geoff, let me be the first to say, “Why do Democrats want rapists to have Viagra?”
Democratic Sen. Max Baucus urged his colleagues to defeat the amendment.
“This is a serious bill. This is a serious debate. The amendment offered by the senator from Oklahoma makes a mockery of the Senate, the debate and the American people. It is not a serious amendment. It is a crass political stunt aimed at making 30-second commercials, not public policy,” he said.
Final tally: 57-42. Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson voted with the GOP. (Johnny Isakson isn’t there tonight, so there are only 40 Republicans.)