Webb, Ben Nelson Vote for McCain Health Amendment
The Senate this afternoon killed a proposal, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), to return the Democrats’ health reform bill to the Finance Committee in order to restore more than $400 billion in projected Medicare expenses over the next decade. Because Democrats are relying on that money to offset much of the bill, McCain’s amendment would have effectively forced a do-over of the entire health reform debate.
The vote was a lop-sided 42 to 58 — well shy of the 60 supporters needed to pass the amendment. Democratic Sens. Jim Webb (Va.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) joined every Republican in support of the measure.
McCain supporters said the “cuts” — which actually aren’t cuts in the traditional sense, but instead represent a slowing of projected growth — would result in seniors losing access to Medicare benefits. Safeguarding against that very occurrence, the Senate earlier approved another amendment, sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), mandating that there be no cuts in the traditional Medicare program. The Bennet amendment passed 100 to 0.