Posted by: The moderator | November 22, 2009

Senate Battle Begins

With the party-vote last night, healthcare reform is now front and center on the Senate floor. Even though the Democrats were able to flex their “filibuster proof” majority getting the debate started, there are several indications that they don’t have all 60 votes behind the bill’s passage. There are at least four moderate Democrats who voted in favor of starting the debate but are currently opposed to the bill for one reason or another. Harry Reid will need to move the bill closer to the center in order to grab their votes. Politico notes a few stumbling blocks:

  1. The public option is the most contentious, with liberal Democrats demanding it and moderates wanting it watered down or removed from the bill
  2. Coverage of elective abortions stir up all sorts of passionate perspectives on both sides
  3. The House and the Senate came up with very different ways to pay for healthcare reform, which will be a headache for the conference committee to sort out
  4. Medicare will receive some cuts in order to make the overall healthcare program work, giving Republicans a valuable tool to attract elderly voters on election day
  5. The deficit, which Republicans have been trumpeting ever since they lost their ability to increase the deficit on their own terms, is also a concern among Senate Democrats since the Senate is traditionally seen as the protector of the treasury

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