Senator Olympia Snowe has announced
she will vote for the Senate Finance Committee's health care reform
bill afternoon, virtually assuring its passage from the 23-member
committee and movement to the Senate as a whole. Snowe, a moderate
Republican from Maine, has been courted for months by Congress and the
White House, and her vote comes with the warning that she could change
her mind by the time it reaches the Senate for a vote. Beyond the
immediate implications for today's vote, what will Snowe's support mean
for health care reform?
- Moderate Baucus Plan Could be Final Bill The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder predicts
this will make Max Baucus's moderate health care proposal, which lacks
a public option, more likely to look like any final bill that President
Obama signs into law. "Snowe plans to
vote 'yes' on the Baucus mark, surprising just about everybody.
Translated: the final bill better be like this one." NBC's Chuck Todd agrees: "Snowe's support
for Senate Finance Cmte bill means Reid-Baucus-WH are running health
care bill; House Dems and Dodd less influential now." This is less than great news for those who wanted a more liberal version of health care reform, then.
- Snowe's Support Gives Her Too Much Leverage The New Republic's Noam Scheiber cautions
that Snowe's vote "will probably lead to a worse bill" in the long run.
"But you can make an argument that Dems don't want Snowe's vote today.
Why? Because it gives her way too much leverage over the whole
process," Scheiber writes for The New Republic. "if Snowe votes for the
bill in committee, she can basically dictate the
terms of the final bill. (Anyone wondering about the havoc she might
wreak need only look at the stimulus.)
if she somehow gets alienated during those negotiations, her
defection from the final bill after voting yes in committee would be
disastrous. Just imagine the atmospherics of Olympia Snowe getting up
on the Senate floor and saying she was so serious about passing health
care reform she already voted for it, but that she can no longer
support the bill because it's moved too far to the left. It would
be absolutely devastating." Scheiber concludes, "Getting her vote and
then losing it later is pretty much the only way health care
reform dies this year."
- Snowe Betrays Conservatives Again Michelle Malkin surveys
Snowe's predilection for occasionally siding with Democrats. "Sen.
Olympia Snowe was one of the three members of the Senate GOP Turncoat Caucus
who voted for the trillion-dollar Generational Theft Act," the
conservative blogger writes. "Snowe is going to vote with the
Democrats. Surprise." Malkin tweeted, "I asked this morning, 'Will Snowe fall again?' We have an answer: YES."
- Snowe Saved us From Ben Nelson Ezra Klein dissents. "On health-care reform, it's a lot more dangerous to leave the power
with the most conservative Democrat than the most liberal Republican," the liberal Washington Post blogger writes. "Liberals should hope for an 'aye' from Snowe. If she abandons the bill,
that empowers Ben Nelson as the eventual dealmaker, much as he was
during stimulus." Klein warns that Nelson, a conservative Democratic Senator, would do more harm to health care than Snowe would.
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