Today at 4:15AM California time, the United States Senate passed its health reform measure 60-39.
We watched live on C-SPAN while our colleague, Elizabeth Landsberg, advocate for Western Center on Law and Poverty, watched from the Senate gallery. She was a little late getting there because Vice President Biden was entering the Senate chamber to preside but she saw Majority Leader Reid’ speech and the vote itself. This blog post incorporates her eye witness report.
California Senators Barbara Boxer and Diance Feinstein called out their Ayes loud and clear. Senator Byrd of West Virginia said he was voting Aye for his friend Ted Kennedy. And Majority Leader Reid accidentally voted No, and then corrected himself to the laughter of all assembled, including even the clerks at the desk.
Elizabeth reports that Senators seemed very happy that the measure had passed the Senate. We also observed the milling around the clerk’s desk and what looked like very happy Democratic Senators.
Next–Merging the House and Senate Bills The next step is to merge the House and Senate bills. There are significant differences between the two bills–and we much prefer the House bill–but the big difference is between the status quo and either bill.
More to follow.