Monday, November 23, 2009

Let the debate begin

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 10:00 AM

One step down, millions of promises to go.

Senate Democrats said they had clinched the votes needed on Saturday to propel major health care legislation to the floor for weeks of full debate, as the majority party’s two last holdouts said that they would not block consideration of President Obama’s top domestic initiative.

Both senators, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, cautioned that their support on what was expected to be a party-line vote on Saturday evening did not guarantee that they would ultimately vote for the bill itself. And their comments signaled that more horse-trading lies ahead when the vigorous debate and amendment attempts begin after Thanksgiving. Big changes might be required if the bill is to be approved.

Still, the decision by the two senators set the stage for a crucial preliminary victory and an important psychological boost for the Democrats, who spent Saturday laying out their arguments for the bill, condemning the practices of insurers and decrying the plight of the uninsured in a parade of floor speeches aimed at cementing party unity.

“I have decided there are enough significant reforms and safeguards in this bill to move forward, but much more work needs to be done,” Ms. Landrieu said.

Mrs. Lincoln, who faces a tough re-election campaign next year, said that her decision was not driven by political considerations.

Read the rest of this New York Times article here.

"What is health care reform and why do we need it?"

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