Senate

McCain, Maverick No More?

John McCain returned to the Senate in 2000 a virtual liberal: throwing bombs at his Republican leaders (and especially George W. Bush).

John McCain returned to the Senate in 2009 a virtual conservative: a model Republican and leading critic of President Obama – especially, these days, on the war in Afghanistan.

McCain’s …

Castle for Senate

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with Stu Rothenberg, editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report, which tracks congressional races, who was remarking to me that of the five open seats Dems must defend next November – Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Colorado and Delaware – few looked truly in danger. Indeed, …

Bill Frist on Health Bill: I’d Vote For It

Or so the former Senate Republican Leader, a surgeon who has written a new book on health care, told me a few minutes ago in an interview.

Were he still in the Senate, “I would end up voting for it,” he said. “As leader, I would take heat for it. … That’s what leadership is all about.”

This is not to say that Frist is entirely …

Health Care: Of Triggers and Timing

As Kate notes in her story today, yesterday’s defeat of the public option by the Senate Finance Committee has focused a lot of attention on the next big test, which is Senator Olympia Snowe’s amendment to put the public option on a “trigger“–that is, to establish one only as a fallback if private insurance companies fail to create a …

Public Option Debate in the Senate Finance Committee

Although the prospects of a public option finding its way into the Senate Finance Committee health reform bill are bleak, Chairman Max Baucus seems ready to devote the bulk of today’s markup to the topic.

The committee spent most of its morning session rehashing the arguments for and against the creation of a public health …

Debating Afghanistan

If you haven’t already noticed on CSPAN2, the Senate has begun debate on the FY2010 Defense Appropriations bill. Typically, defense is the last of the 13 spending bills to be passed because it’s a must pass – ie, you can’t not update military funding in a time of war – and it often becomes a Christmas tree for all the pork that …

Public Option on Deck for Friday

Democratic Senators Jay Rockefeller and Chuck Schumer said Thursday evening that they plan to turn debate on the Senate Finance Committee toward a government-run public option on Friday. No public option is included in Chairman Max Baucus’s current health care reform bill and none is expected one to be added, simply because there are not …

President Obama is in the Room

Not really, but his promises are – namely, his health reform promise that “if you like what have, you can keep it” and his campaign pledge not to raise taxes on American families whose income is less than $250,000 year. Republicans are doing their best to keep these promises fresh in everyone’s mind, while pointing out how they …

Baucus Makes $28 Billion in Changes Pre-Mark Up

For all that Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus moved frustratingly slowly the last five months – especially to those of us standing in the hall in front of his office waiting for an agreement —  he’s moving lightning quick to the mark up. The bill that he will be moving through his committee tomorrow will already have some of the

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