Senate Votes To Block Debate of Obama’s Job-Creation Proposal
The plan required 60 votes to move on to debate (Bolton, The Hill, 10/11).
Background on Proposal
Obama's plan would cut $248 billion from Medicare, 90% of which would come from reducing overpayments within the program, according to administration officials. They said that some of the cuts would affect beneficiaries. The proposal also would cut $72 billion from Medicaid.
Administration officials said that the health care cuts would be balanced with new tax revenues. To do that, the proposal calls for overhauling the tax code and raising $1.5 trillion primarily from taxing high-income U.S. residents.
Republicans oppose the plan's spending components and its tax on high-income individuals. Meanwhile, some Democrats criticized the plan for its entitlement cuts (California Healthline, 9/12).
Details of Vote
All Republicans present on Tuesday voted against the measure. Meanwhile, two Democrats -- Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) -- also voted against the bill. Several centrist Democrats voted in favor of debating the plan but indicated they planned to oppose it during a final vote.
Republicans used the two dissenting Democratic votes and the position of the centrists to claim bipartisan opposition to Obama's plan. However, the White House countered that the majority of the Senate voted in favor of the proposal (Bolton, The Hill, 10/11).
Following the vote, Obama and administration officials indicated that they will continue to seek passage of the measure, The Hill reports.
Obama said, "Tonight's vote is by no means the end of this fight," adding, "Independent economists have said that the [plan] would grow the economy and lead to nearly two million jobs, which is why the majority of the American people support these bipartisan, common-sense proposals" (Youngman, The Hill, 10/11).
Senior White House officials said they will work with Senate Democrats to divide the plan into individual bills that are more likely to pass (Bolton, The Hill, 10/11).
Democratic aides said breaking the proposal into smaller measures will be harder for the GOP to oppose. An aide asked, "Will Senate Republicans keep saying 'no' again and again to proposals which have bipartisan pedigree, all the while having no plan of their own?"
However, one Democratic aide said lawmakers might not be able to split the plan before the next Senate recess in two weeks (Dennis, Roll Call, 10/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.