It ain’t over ’til it’s over…and it’s only just begun.
As you all know, I’m on semi-vacation with my family. It’s 10:00pm Pacific time and after putting everyone to bed, I decided to check in online and turn on the TV. I flipped through C-SPAN thinking I’d be able to catch up on re-runs of the day’s business…only to find the Senate still live and in session at 1:00am Eastern voting on Demcare amendments.
Yes, the Vampire Congress is back in business again — shirking the glare of daylight as it tables Republican motion after motion. A final vote on the wreckonciliation bill is expected at around 3:00-6:00am Eastern Thursday morning.
Here’s a list of some of the GOP amendments to the wreconciliation bill (click on link for more info):
* Senator Gregg: Protect Medicare Savings
* Senator McCain: Remove Sweetheart Deals
* Senator Crapo: No Tax Hikes for Families Earning Under $250,000
* Senator Enzi: Strike the Employer Mandate
* Senator Barrasso: Requires Legislation Not Increase Premiums
* Senator Grassley: Requires President, Congress Enroll in Exchange
* Senator Alexander: Reduce Student Loan Interest Rate
* Senator LeMieux: Members On Medicaid
* Senator Coburn: Bars Sex Offenders from Receiving E.D. Drugs
* Senator Hutchison: State Opt Out
* Senator Hatch: Block Medicare Advantage Cuts
* Senator Collins: Waive Employer Mandate Tax
* Senator Thune: Strike CLASS Act
* Senator Cornyn: Remove New Taxes on Investments
* Senator Hatch: Protect Wounded Soldiers from Medical Device Tax
* Senator Inhofe: Protect Pediatrics and Disabled from Medical Device Tax
* Senator Crapo: Protect Cancer Patients from Medical Device Tax
* Senators Roberts, Inhofe, Brown, Crapo: Strike Medical Device Tax
* Senator Burr: Tricare and Veterans Health Programs
* Senator Roberts: Rationing
* Senator Roberts: Critical Access Hospitals
* Senator Vitter: Repeals Democrats’ Health Care Bill
Go here for the roll call votes.
Among the more noteworthy votes taken so far:
Sen. Coburn’s attempt to bar Viagra for sex offenders was tabled by 57-42. Democrat Sens. Bayh and Nelson voted with the Republicans.
Sen. Vitter’s motion to repeal the Demcare takeover was tabled by 58-39.
The Hill is also up tonight covering the dwellers in darkness:
As of 11:30 p.m., the chamber had defeated 19 straight Republican proposals and adopted none.
There were no Democratic amendments proposed, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is under pressure to preserve the bill intact, which would prevent it from having to be sent back to the House. The House already approved the reconciliation bill in its session last weekend.
A spokesman for Reid’s office said instead of adjourning, the evening’s continuous voting has put the chamber within reach of a final vote in the wee hours of Thursday — possibly between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Although 20 hours of debate are normally required, Democrats surrendered their half of that time on Wednesday morning, and GOP leaders decided later in the day against a strategy of filing repeated amendments.
Democratic leaders are moving the bill through the Senate under special parliamentary rules, known as the reconciliation process, under which they only need to amass 51 votes, meaning they can afford to lose several members of their party. Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin, whose rulings were critical to the state of the bill, had not issued any rulings to adversely affect the bill as of 11:30 p.m.
I’ll update through the night. Stay tuned.
Update 2:10am Eastern. They are now voting on the Hutchison amendment to make permanent certain sales and marriage tax provisions that were set to expire. The amendment falls, 40-55.
Oh, dear. Al Franken has taken over as presiding officer.
Update 2:43am Eastern After tabling more GOP amendments, a pale, hoarse Harry Reid calls for adjournment. Befuddled Franken announces: “I guess we’re adjourned.” Official adjournment gaveled at 2:56am Eastern.
Andy Levy tweets in reply to my report on Reid’s grim appearance: “‘And I looked, and behold a pale hoarse Harry Reid.’ (Revelation 6:8)”
…And Hell followed with him.
After 10 hours, the Senate voted on 28 GOP amendments and rejected each and every one, including a Vitter amendment to spare mobile mammography units from punitive tax treatment.
Um, who’s the party of no now?
Also: Guess it’s the Dems now making womanhood a “pre-existing condition” again, eh, Nancy Pelosi?
Meantime, wire services are reporting that a Senate parliamentarian ruling agreeing with GOP points of order will send the Wreckonciliation bill back to the House.
The points of order deal with Pell Grant provisions that violate budget rules. More here. Dems are characterizing the points of order as “minor.”
Question: How “minor” is it?
It was initially unclear how much of a problem this posed for Democrats hoping to rush the bill to Obama and avoid further congressional votes on what has been a politically painful ordeal for the party. Democrats described the situation as a minor glitch, but did not rule out that Republicans might be able to remove additional sections of the bill.
The president, who signed the landmark legislation into law on Tuesday, was flying to Iowa later in the day for the first of many appearances he will make around the country before the fall congressional elections to sell his health care revamp.
So: “The time for talk” is not over.
Senate resumes at 9:45am. Roll call votes are expected to continue until 2:00pm.
Like I said: It ain’t over ’til it’s over…and it’s only just begun.
Update:2:16pm Eastern – Senate passes Wreckonciliation, Nelson/Lincoln vote no.
The only thing bipartisan was the opposition.
More: Obama taunts GOP: Repeal? “Go for it.”