Republican Olympia Snowe just indicated in her closing statement that she plans to vote yes on the Senate Finance Committee’s health reform bill. Her vote is probably not necessary for passage – Democrats hold 13 of 23 seats on the committee – but her support could be crucial to getting a bill passed on the Senate floor. Democratic Senator Ben Nelson, for instance, has said he won’t vote for a completely partisan bill, so Snowe’s support lends a sliver of bipartisanship to the legislation. In explaining her vote before the committee, here’s some of what Snowe said:
“As we contemplate action today…we should contemplate the decades on inaction…[the status quo is] really akin to the Titanic and turning the Titanic around before it hits the iceberg…The American people intuitively understand this issue is not only complex, it’s costly….Given the enormity of the task, we should give it time…
Is this bill all that I would want? Far from it…But when history calls, history calls…There are many many miles to go in this legislative journey…My vote today is my vote today. It doesn’t forecast what it will be tomorrow.”
Baucus gave Snowe a wide smile when she finished and commended her eloquence.
(And now the committee is singing Happy Birthday to Democratic committee member Senator Maria Cantwell.)