Archive for the ‘Senate Votes’ Category

Senate Passes Historic Health Care Reform

December 24, 2009 Leave a comment

The ayes have it 60-39 with all Democrats and virtually all Republicans voting for or against respectively.  Sen. Bunning (R-KY) did not vote.  This was the final vote on health care reform and only a majority of 51 Senators was needed to pass this historic legislation.

(They were laughing because Sen. Majority Leader Reid accidentally said Nay instead of Aye, which he promptly corrected)

It’s not the best bill and much work needs to be done to make it better, but the bill does put in a framework for universal coverage in place.  That, in itself, is a major milestone.  The bill now heads to conference in order to unify the House and Senate bills.


Senate Passes Defense Appropriations Bill while Senate Dems Reach Health Care Deal

December 19, 2009 Leave a comment

The Senate passed the Defense Appropriations bill this morning on a vote of 88-10.  This was the last of the Appropriations bills for FY 2010 marking the end of the appropriations process for this year.  9 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted against the $636 billion dollar defense spending bill.

Meanwhile, Sen. Majority Leader Reid and the Democratic Leadership looks like they’ve finally amassed the 60 votes necessary to break  a Republican filibuster when Sen. Nelson agreed to a new compromise plan.  In the compromise plan, reproductive rights coverage in the new Exchange will now be subject to a state opt out provision.  Also, the Medicaid expansion is intact but Nebraska, Sen. Nelson’s home state, will get increased federal funding for the state’s Medicaid expense portion.  Senate leadership wants a vote on the health care reform bill by Christmas.

While the compromises have been a bitter pill to swallow, it is still better to pass the bill and get some framework for universal coverage in place.  The employer mandate to provide health insurance for their employees (small businesses with a small number of employees are exempt) and the Medicaid expansion will help out a lot of people.  However, health care reform is not complete with this bill.  More work will have to be done in the future even if it takes reconciliation to do it.

Senate Passes Commerce/Justice/Science Appropriations Bill

November 7, 2009 Leave a comment

That was quick.  The Senate on Thursday, the same day they re-introduced the bill for debate, passed 71-28.  14 Republicans joined 57 Democrats to vote for the bill.  Sen. Bayh and Sen. McCaskill were the only two Democrats to vote against with the rest of the opposition coming from the Republicans.  Military/Veterans, State/Foreign Operations, Financial Services, and the Labor/HHS/Education bills are the last four appropriations bill needed to be voted on by the Senate although that doesn’t count votes for conference appropriations bills but those go much faster than initial floor debates.

Yesterday, the Senate picked up the Military/Veterans Appropriations bill.

Vitter Census Amendment Goes Down in Flames

November 6, 2009 Leave a comment

In a party line vote yesterday, the Senate blocked the Vitter Census Amendment 60-39 from being attached to the Commerce/Justice/Science Appropriations bill.  Sen. Vitter wanted a question inserted in census forms asking about a person’s immigration status for the purpose of not counting undocumented people in Congressional apportionment.  The Vitter Census Amendment stands in marked contrast to the US Constitution which expressly states:

“Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State [. . .]”

60 Democrats voted to block the amendment while 39 Republicans voted against with Sen. McCain of Arizona declining to vote.  This margin may hide the true number for or against the measure because the vote seems to be a procedural question to invoke cloture and end debate on Vitter’s patently stupid amendment.  Republicans may have been compelled to advance a caucus member’s pet project, but the fact that Snowe, Collins, and Lugar voted with their fellow Republicans on Vitter’s behalf is disconcerting.  Expect this measure to come up again if and when an immigration bill takes center stage in the 111th Congress.

No word yet on whether Sen. Vitter wants to triple the amount of representation prostitutes get in Congressional apportionment.

Senate Votes 98-0 for Unemployment Benefits Extension Bill

November 5, 2009 Leave a comment

In perhaps the widest vote margin of any bill this year, the Unemployment Benefits Extension bill passed with flying colors yesterday. 58 Democrats and 40 Republicans all voted for the bill, which grants an extension of unemployment benefits coverage, with zero Senators in opposition. Sen. Byrd and Sen. McCaskill did not make it to the vote – Sen. Byrd could not make it to the vote because of his recuperation from a fall while I’m sure Sen. McCaskill had valid reasons for missing the vote. If they were on the Senate floor, that would have made it 100-0, but alas, the Unemployment extension bill has to settle for an overwhelming 98-0 vote

Still, it would behoove the Republicans to remember that people also lose their health insurance after becoming unemployed. In fact, millions of people have lost their health coverage since the start of the recession, and that’s on top of the 46 million Americans who already don’t get health care.  Fortunately, all signs indicate the House will vote on health care as soon as this weekend, something that is greatly needed to help the uninsured and the unemployed with their health care needs.

The Senate has since moved on to the Commerce/Justice/Science Appropriations Bill.

UPDATE: Obama to sign unemployment benefit extension bill tomorrow (Friday).  Help is on the way!

Wrap Up of the Week of Oct. 26th

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Both the House and the Senate unveiled the House and Senate health care bills this week.  Both have negotiated rate public options but the Senate adds an opt out provision for the states.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, they’re still working on the Unemployment Benefits Extension bill, but they’ve been passing cloture votes with ease.  We’ll see if they can pass the bill today.

Senate Votes Down Medicare Doc-Fix Bill Due to Deficit Concerns

October 22, 2009 Leave a comment


The Senate yesterday rejected the Medicare “Doc-Fix” Bill on a vote of 47-53.  13 Democrats joined 40 Republicans to filibuster the bill with detractors saying the non deficit neutrality of the $248 billion dollar bill was a cause for concern.  Still, the bill that would have permanently fixed a Medicare formula responsible for payment cuts could be brought back in another form if the bill is fully paid for. Today though, the deficit proved to be too much of a hurdle for this bill to overcome.

The Senate has since moved on to conference votes on appropriations bills.