All eyes back on Olympia Snowe

The Senate began debating President Obama’s health care takeover plan this week. Most of the attention has been placed on several swing-vote Democrats who might oppose the bill. But with the exception of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), these Democrats will likely find an excuse to support it.

Ten Democrats, including Nelson, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, met for three hours yesterday to discuss ways to resolve several issues including the proposed public option. The group plans to meet again today.
Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) cannot be counted on to do the right thing. They have made up their minds to vote for the bill if necessary and just need an excuse. If Sen. Lieberman holds firm, President Obama will need one Republican to cross the aisle to provide the 60th vote needed to invoke cloture, cut off debate, and pass the bill.

One of the next fights for the health-care industry may be a bipartisan proposal that would allow pharmacists, wholesalers and some individual consumers to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other countries.

Nine senators led by Snowe and North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan are pushing for the amendment. Drugmakers are opposed, saying the plan would endanger patient safety and hurt industry innovation
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is the Republican most likely to support the bill. She voted for it in committee and is currently working to make small changes that could be used to justify her support. Sen. Snowe voted against the bill before Thanksgiving so it’s very important for Americans to thank her for that vote and encourage her to be strong.

Please call Sen. Snowe’s Washington office at (202) 224-5344 or send her an email here.


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