Rethugs, I hope this gives you some cloture…I mean, closure


With no votes to spare, Democratic senators moved health care reform past its first major hurdle Saturday night, with a party-line, 60-to-39 vote to begin consideration of the 2,000-plus page bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled this week.


The bill that senators will begin debating after Thanksgiving combines proposals passed by the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Committee Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), and is designed to make health insurance more accessible and affordable. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would expand coverage to 94 percent of Americans at a cost of $848 billion over the next 10 years.

Original movie poster
(Shnooks and ninnies, from the top:  Chinless Mitch McConnell, Kit So-Not-James Bond, Orrin Down-The Hatch, Richard Who? Burr, Mean Mike Enzi,  Chuck Yer-Ass-Is Grassley, Captain Underpants, Limpy Snowe, Diaper David Vitter)

In addition to imposing new regulations on insurance companies, the legislation would create health insurance exchanges, which would function as a marketplace of last resort where Americans could choose between private insurance, non-profit cooperative insurance, and a government-run public insurance option. While Democrats differed in their levels of enthusiasm for the bill, Republicans were unanimous in their opposition, describing Reid’s proposal as everything from a spending binge to a Ponzi scheme.

Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who voted for the Democrats’ bill in the Senate Finance Committee, voted against debating it Saturday night. She objected to many of the the policies in the version of the bill that emerged from the Majority Leader’s office, including the public option.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), the top Republican on the Senate HELP Committee and the only accountant in the Senate, warned of the bill’s potentially catastrophic effect on the federal budget deficit. “Perhaps the best way to qualify this bill is to say it keeps me up nights,” Enzi said, summing it up in one word: “Disaster.”

Other Republicans, such as Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah objected to the bill’s abortion provisions, which are weaker than the House-passed bill, as well as the bill’s estimated cost of nearly $1 trillion to the taxpayers over the next decade. Missouri Republican Sen. Kit Bond said there were so many objectionable elements to the proposal that his colleagues had a hard time choosing which ones to go after first. “We’re like a mosquito in a nudist colony,” he said. “We have so many targets to attack in this bill we don’t know which one to hit.”

Democratic leaders defended their bill, with Reid saying of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), “The facts he is talking about do not exist, except in the minds of people who do not understand this bill.”


In the minutes before the vote, Sen. Max Baucus, a leader for the Democrats in health care reform, said to his fellow senators, “History is knocking on the door. Let’s open it.”

From the Omaha World-Herald:

Senators will begin weeks of debate when they return from Thanksgiving break, but Republicans who stood united against the vote to allow consideration of the bill said Saturday’s vote was anything but procedural.

The Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, cast it as a referendum on the bill itself, which he said would raise taxes, cut Medicare and create a “massive and unsustainable debt.”

The Senate proposal would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide subsidies to those who couldn’t afford it. The insurance industry would come under significant new regulation under the bill, which would first ease and then ban the practice of denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions.

The 10-year bill would reduce the budget deficit through new taxes and cuts to Medicare, according to congressional budget analysts, while extending coverage to 31 million more Americans, ensuring coverage for 94 percent of the eligible population.

At the White House, press secretary Robert Gibbs issued a statement saying the president was gratified by the vote, which “brings us one step closer to ending insurance company abuses, reining in spiraling health care costs, providing stability and security to those with health insurance and extending quality health coverage to those who lack it.”


The drama surrounding a rare Saturday night vote had diminished greatly after the final two holdout Democrats, [Blanche] Lincoln and [Mary] Landrieu, announced hours beforehand that they would vote to allow debate. [Ben] Nelson announced his intentions Friday.

“Oh, this is so tense,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., joked from his seat as senators’ names were called out during the vote.

Hilarious, asshole. 🙄

George Voinovich of Ohio was not present for the vote. The Senate’s other 39 Republicans, including Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, all voted to block consideration of the bill.

[Tom] Harkin [of Iowa], chairman of the Senate Health Committee, has been one of the leading advocates for the health care legislation.

In a rallying cry before the vote, he said that conservative lawmakers once bitterly opposed the creation of now-popular programs such as Social Security and Medicare. At the time, he said, they tried to scare people about those programs, and today’s Republicans have resorted to similar tactics.

“Now is not the time to go wobbly in the knees, I say to my friends in the Democratic caucus. Now is the time to stand strong. Now is the time to … move this country forward, say yes to the American people and no to these fears and unfounded allegations,” Harkin said.

After Harkin, it was Grassley’s turn. He noted that former President Bill Clinton had told Senate Democrats the worst thing they could do on health care would be nothing. But Grassley said the bill is far worse than nothing.

He said it would raise private health insurance premiums, cut Medicare to the point of threatening access to care and threaten the economic recovery.

“Its a half a trillion dollars in new taxes, hurting small business and destroying job creation,” Grassley said on the Senate floor. “It calls for an even bigger and more unsustainable federal budget.

“It adds to that burden with a massive new government-run health plan. It makes health care more unaffordable and lower quality.”


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24 responses to “Rethugs, I hope this gives you some cloture…I mean, closure

  1. 60-to-39? Goodness, those Republican folks had better move the goalposts, stat…Surely a threshold of 75 votes needed to pass, or even better eleventy hunnert are what’s called for to nip this saucy progress in the bud.

    Get cracking, GOP! Don’t let that naughty Democratic villain Reid force a majority on you!


  2. Sue

    I love the little crying babies, how appropriate! And they have the nerve to call dems cry babies! I have never heard such outrageous lies and stupidity coming from these senators, OH yea, I forgot, yes I have!! And its just the beginning, we’re gonna hear some sick stuff in the next month(hopefully its just 1 month!)

    • it’s going to be one helluva month. some of the rethugs will do everything they can to get out the teabaggers, while others (like lindseypoo and capt underpants) will be too afraid to, because the teabaggers hate them. i think the rethugs might have put themselves between a rock and a hard place.

  3. Diaperboy Vitter is riding in the baby carriage. HAHAHAHA!

    • originally, i was going to put susan collins in the carriage, but when the time came to p’shop her in there, it just didn’t feel right. it had to be diaper dave.

  4. Question to Mike Enzi : Did 8 years of watching your fellow Wyomingoloid Dick Cheney hump the taxpayers and lift his leg on the Constitution keep you awake at night ? How about the limp wristed soiree into Afghanistan and the Schlock and Awe we dumped on Iraq to the tune of 10 Billion a month ? Did that keep you up at night too, Mikey ? Time to use your prescription drug rider and score a shitload of ambien cause a lot of things will be keeping you up for the next few years.

    • mick,
      enzi is 65. his ambien is covered by medicare, a government-run health care.

      i’ve been talking to a friend of mine, and we’ve come to the conclusion that we have to do away with the senate. it’s just not working anymore. it’s become a game of chess, and senators from crappy little states that have few people and take more money from the treasury than they pay in have as much power as those representing states with huge populations. maybe the rules were good 200 hundred years ago, but they don’t work now.

  5. if you ask me – since bush already tore up the constitution – it is time to start over

    the fact that enzi and hatch have as much influence as boxer, schumer (or even big hair hutchison) is just plain wrong

    the whole govt doesnt work – unless you are the CEO of Aetna

    • the sad thing is that the government would work a whole lot better if real campaign finance was enacted. i honestly think that the corporations and lobbyists having so much control is the heart of the problem.

  6. Maybe they should name it the Ted Kennedy Memorial health care bill?
    There was a whole lot of drivel about respect for Kennedy @ his funeral– (Hatch put on quite the show), so can’t some of these dinosaurs do it for Ted?
    Getting Universal healthcare had been Kennedy’s life’s work— maybe that can be used for “good”, vs the evil for-profit?

    I hate that the repugs have branded lack of healthcare access as “freedom”. Maybe Grayson needs to pitch a fit @ the podium- ripping apart this notion of “freedom”-

    Freedom to die on the streets?
    Freedom to go into medical bankruptcy?
    Freedom to not get lifesaving medical care?
    Freedom to lose your house?
    Freedom to be shut out of health care access entirely, because of a pre existing condition?
    Freedom of For-profit insurance execs to become filthy rich by denying you care?
    Freedom of For-profit insurance to continually ind ways for customers to pay more & more out of their own pockets?

    None of the above is “freedom” but that is what the repugs are selling, on their lockstep snake-oil tour.

    Wake up America! You could be next in getting scammed by your health insurance (non) provider.

    • i’ll make a little confession, fran. i hate that ted kennedy’s name is being bandied about in hopes that some rethugs might feel guilty and vote for the bill. health care reform is not about ted kennedy. it’s about people who are dying every damned day in america for lack of funds. name the bill after one of the people listed at alan grayson’s website or after eric de la cruz, whom you can read about at write chic press. this is not about the egos of anyone in d.c. they all have insurance.

      no rethug is going to change his mind because they suddenly feel nostalgic about teddy kennedy. those who liked ted kennedy’s politics already want a national health care program, so there’s no need to appeal to them by invoking his name. those who didn’t like him are not going to warm up to the bill if his name is attached to it. the dems need to focus on everyday ordinary people and their health care horror stories. the imbeciles who are out there protesting against their own interests have got to be made to understand that they are one medical crisis away from bankruptcy and/or death, and the blue dogs have to be embarrassed into voting for what is right.

      sorry for the little rant.

      • fair enough….. good rant– still I want a Freedom rant on the floor.

        This notion of freedom is bulla-shitta. Eh?

        • i think you covered the freedom rant quite well, fran.

          better than a rant on the floor of the house, where nobody will hear it, how about the dems spreading that message all over the sunday shows? the rethugs always have their talking points loaded and ready to go. the dems seems to flail around trying to figure out what they want to say.

  7. Looking on the bright side, I already loathed these crybaby obstructionists from their antics before, so I don’t have to work up a head of steam over this latest thing.

    • yeah, it’s gotten to the point where you never expect them to say anything intelligent or compassionate, so we can just sit back and mock them everytime they open their mouths without the accompanying indigestion.

  8. Dusty

    You know what bugs me more than the Rethugs vote? Mary ‘the whore’ Landreu getting a big fat wad o cash for her state just to vote against the Rethug Filibuster. When I saw her speechifying on CSpan about how her vote was only for cloture and she would never actually vote FOR the bill..I wanted to slap the taste right out of her friggin mouth.

    I am not saying that NOLA doesn’t need the money.I am saying it’s bullshit to sell your vote and it doesn’t really help getting the bill passed.

    • they all sell their votes. that’s the nature of the senate. it’s all about making deals. that said, nobody should have to be coerced into voting for health care for everyone.

  9. I’m really surprised the GOP doesn’t just brazenly act like they won this vote, because it’s not like the media or the Democrats would challenge them on the claim, and in the process the GOP can circumvent the pesky little inconvenience of even having to vote on anything at all.