The 59-39 vote represents an important achievement for President Barack Obama, and comes just two months after his health care overhaul became law. The bill must now be reconciled with a House version that passed in December. A key House negotiator predicted the legislation would reach Obama’s desk before the Fourth of July…
Democrats succeeded in breaking through the Republican block by winning Brown’s backing. The Massachusetts Republican, who had voted against ending debate on Wednesday, met with Reid Thursday morning to voice his concerns regarding the bill’s effect on Massachusetts banks such as State Street and insurance firms such as MassMutual. House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank, also of Massachusetts, weighed in Thursday with letters to Reid offering his own guarantees that the final bill would resolve Brown’s concerns.
Shelby, who helped write parts of the bill before ultimately voting against it, called it a “massive new consumer bureaucracy” and a “liberal activists’ dream come true.” So why’d Scotty flip? Pressure:
So why did Brown buckle, after voting to uphold the filibuster on Wednesday?
For starters, he received 3,000 phone calls to his office over the last week, all of them by supporters of Organizing for America, the apparatus that sprung out of President Obama’s campaign for the White House that is now housed inside the Democratic National Committee…
Then there is guilt. Reid all but called Brown out by name on Wednesday when he said that the Senate did not move forward on a procedural vote to end debate and overcome the filibuster because a senator had “broken his word.”
Brown told reporters that he had in fact given Reid his word that he would vote if his concerns were addressed in the bill, but that he voted no on Wednesday because his concerns had not been addressed. Thursday Brown voted yes, though his concerns had still not been addressed.
Translation: The left knew they could make things uncomfortable for him in Massachusetts if he didn’t cave, so they turned the screws — and he caved. Which, admittedly, was fully expected after the first filibuster, but is no less depressing for having been predictable. Exit question: Forgivable offense for a blue-state Republican worried about reelection or primary-worthy sin that’ll have Red State pounding the table tomorrow?