Senate Votes to Limit Debate on First Key Element of Health Care Bill

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The Senate voted 60-40 early Dec. 21 to cut off debate on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) manager's amendment to the health care overhaul bill (H.R. 3590), setting up a possible final vote on the legislation by Christmas Eve.
The manager‘s amendment includes several tax-related modifications to the Senate bill, including a new tax on tanning salons and a larger tax increase on high-income households' Hospital Insurance payroll taxes.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, complained on the Senate floor that Democrats were attempting to rush the legislation through Congress ahead of Christmas.
The vote was being held during a weekend with a snowstorm and in the middle of a Sunday night just one day after the 383-page manager's amendment was unveiled because Democrats “want to make sure they pass it before the American people find out what's in it,” Alexander said. He said polls show that Americans already disapprove of the bill by a 2-1 margin.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) added that the bill is also moving forward despite President Obama's pledge that the negotiations over the bill would be open and televised, when, in fact, much of the legislation was decided behind closed doors by Reid and a select group of aides.