Senator Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, has indicated she will vote yes for the Baucus health care bill. This was just announced a few minutes ago, today, Tuesday, October 13, 2009.
“Snowe Announces Support for Health Care Bill Ahead of Key Vote”
“Sen. Olympia Snowe announced Tuesday that she will vote for health care reform legislation before the Senate Finance Committee, becoming the only Republican to back the bill and virtually assuring passage.
ORIGINAL STORY …
Ahead of a key vote for health care reform, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday that he’s still concerned about the potential for more government control over health care.
Sen. Charles Grassley’s comments, and those of other Republicans, aired the lingering partisan divisions on the panel, even as Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., stressed that his bill is a “balanced plan” that should win bipartisan support and eventually pass the full Senate.
“With this markup nearing its conclusion, we can now see clearly that the bill continues its march leftward,” Grassley, R-Iowa, said.
But Baucus urged his colleagues to “make history” by sending his comprehensive overhaul to the floor of the Senate and one big step closer to the president’s desk.
“Now it’s time to get the job done,” chairman Baucus, D-Mont., said. “My colleagues, this is our opportunity to make history.” ”
“Key senators were still on the fence over the pivotal health care reform bill going into deliberations, even though leadership aides say they’re confident the package will win enough backers.
With 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans on the committee, Baucus can only afford to lose one Democrat if Republicans vote as a bloc against his bill.
Among the undecided were Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who wants more choice in the bill and wants all Americans to be able to enter the national exchange for insurance plans set up under the bill — plus he wants subsidies increased and penalties decreased.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, is considered the only possible Republican vote — though she is still undecided. She was one of the three Republicans who participated for months in the “Gang of Six” talks with Baucus and two other committee Democrats.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., is concerned about the cost of the 10-year, $829-billion plan and has voted many times with Republicans to reduce taxes and penalties. She is a moderate Democrat in a red state staring at a potential conservative primary challenger.
Previously undecided, she announced her support for the bill Tuesday afternoon, but said that was no guarantee she would support the final product.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., was previously undecided for different reasons. The liberal member wants nothing short of a government-run insurance plan in the bill, and he thinks the Finance Committee’s “co-op” system is not sufficient. He also wants subsidies increased for low- and middle-income Americans. He now says he knows how he’ll vote, but did not give details. ”