If you are a normal person, today was a day for family, faith, football, and holiday get-togethers.
While you’ve been busy this Sunday before Christmas, the Senate has been hurtling toward a cloture vote on Demcare.
As I noted early this morning, the Senate will proceed to a cloture vote on the Reid-Baucus-Dodd-Harkin amendment at 1:00am Eastern this morning.
GOP Sen. John Thune is now on the floor shining light on all the Democrats’ broken promises. RedState’s Dan Perrin outlines the extraordinary measures needed to kill the bill.
I’ll be up liveblogging through the cloture vote.
Registered commenters: Feel free to comment in this open thread.
I noted this in my lead story thread, but I’ll repeat it here: CBO now says Nelson’s Cornhusker Kickback will cost $100 million for Nebraska. Vermont and Massachusetts will also benefit from similar deals. Combined, the three-state kickback will cost taxpayers $1.2 billion over 10 years.
A full rundown of all the Cash for Cloture deals here.
Can we extend this, please: “Federal Government Closed on Monday.”
On Sunday morning, I posted Nebraska Dr. Becky Hollibaugh’s letter roasting her sellout Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson.
She is not alone:
It was the concern of Nebraska’s Republican governor over expanded Medicaid costs in the proposed Senate health care overhaul bill that led to a compromise to cover his state’s estimated $45 million share over a decade, U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson said Sunday.
Gov. Dave Heineman “contacted me and he said this is another unfunded federal mandate and it’s going to stress the state budget, and I agreed with him,” said the Nebraska Democrat, who was himself a Nebraska governor in the 1990s. “I said to the leader and others that this is something that has to be fixed. I didn’t participate in the way it was fixed.”
But Heineman expressed anything but gratitude, saying he had nothing to do with the compromise and calling the overhaul bill “bad news for Nebraska and bad news for America.”
“Nebraskans did not ask for a special deal, only a fair deal,” Heineman said in a statement Sunday.
In response, Nelson fired off a letter Sunday to Heineman saying he’s prepared to ask that the provision covering Nebraska’s Medicaid share “be removed from the amendment in conference, if it is your desire.”
The criticism is only a taste of what Nelson has received since announcing Saturday that he would become the 60th vote needed to advance the landmark legislation.
There’s now a website: Give Ben the Boot!
11:00pm Eastern. Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin is going through the litany of new special-interest centers and institutes — for women, minority health, etc., etc., etc — that will be created under Demcare. He’s Big Santa rummaging through an endless sack of government goodies. Ho, ho, ho.
Cardin actually referred to “children under the age of 26.”
11:12pm Eastern. Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida is complaining that GOP criticisms of the behemoth health care bill are too specific — yes, too specific — and that too-specific criticisms “miss the larger picture” of Demcare.
If only the critics would stop reading the bill and citing specific sections, then the Democrat majority could ram it down our throats so much easier!
Fla. Sen. Nelson is bashing insurance companies.
Sen. Nelson, meet your Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh and his “fat cat” insurance board member wife.
12:00am Eastern. After a brief recess, the Senate is now back in session. Opened with prayers and pledge of allegiance. Senate chaplain prayed for legislators to act with wisdom.
Don’t tell Dick Durbin. He’s got issues with prayer.
Democrat Sen. Mark Udall will serve as chair. Time will be equally divided for an hour, with Majority Leader controlling the final 10 minutes and the Republican Leader controlling the 10 minutes immediately prior.
12:20pm Eastern. Sen. McCain must have had a Red Bull. He’s on the floor now roasting the payoffs and the backroom deals. The Democrats, he says, “will pay consequences. They should. They should.” Says all Republicans will unite against Demcare, go to town halls and senior centers. “We have just begun to fight.”
12:29pm Eastern. Sen. Harkin talks about those “kiddies” under 26 again. Crikey.
Now, he’s citing the bogus death-by-uninsurance statistics again and playing the murder card.
Oh, triple-crikey: Harkin invoking Teddy Kennedy. “Health care should be a right, not a privilege. It was his great dream.”
Harkin threatens: “This is not the end of health care reform. This is the beginning.”
I have no doubt. Of course it’s the Trojan Horse for single-payer.
12:35am Eastern. Sen. Cornyn asking about earmark disclosure. Chair is not aware of list. Dems continue their demagoguery with Chris Dodd, who is identified by AP tonight as the petitioner for a $100 million earmark stuffed into the manager’s amendment.
Dodd also invokes Teddy K.
12:42am Eastern. McConnell now on the floor. Assails the $100 million hospital earmark. Assails the Medicaid expansion subsidies. But he won’t name the names.
He needs a sip of McCain’s Red Bull.
12:53am Eastern. McConnell on his Dem opponents: “I don’t doubt for a moment their sincerity.” That’s the problem.
“This legislation will reshape the nation.”
McConnell pleading for one Democrat — “All it takes is one…one can stop it, or every single one will own it” — to kill the bill. My colleagues, it is not too late.”
Reid takes the floor and launches full-throttle into fear mode. PEOPLE ARE DYING. FLU. STROKE. SKIN CANCER. HEART CONDITION. THEY’RE DYING! Invokes the bogus murder-by-un-insurance stats again. More health care-as-a-right propaganda again.
1:09am Eastern. Here we go with the cloture vote. Senators voting from their desks.
There is no such thing as a “moderate” Democrat. Bayh, Lincoln, McCaskill, Ben Nelson, Webb all vote aye.
Final cloture vote: 60-40. (All 58 Dems plus two Independents – Lieberman and Sanders – voted yes. All Rs voted no.)
Cash for cloture worked.
Senate now recessed until noon Monday.