Senate Votes, Succeeds, on Cloture Vote
Just seconds ago, by a vote of 60 to 39, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on its version of health reform, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, thereby officially bringing it to the floor for debate.
Up until today, it was uncertain whether or not Majority Leader Reid would have the 60 Democratic votes needed, but at the last minute secured votes from previously on-the-fence Senators such as Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.
So this means the bill will definitely be brought up for a lengthy debate and amendment process, which will likely begin after the Thanksgiving break. This by no means indicates a final vote, however, as the Senate will need to vote on cloture to END debate, as well, at which point (assuming this is achieved) no more than 30 hours of floor time will be allowed before a final vote is held. Senator Lincoln has indicated that, although she may not support the bill, she will vote on cloture to end debate, but Senator Nelson stated he will vote NO on cloture to end debate if he is not happy with the final amended version.
The NRHA has been very involved up to this point to ensure the current bill recognizes rural, but because many important rural protections were left out will continue to work with the Senate to ensure our priorities for rural America are added as amendments to the bill.
My next post will include a list of the provisions left out of the current bill, and look forward to working with all of our grassroots members to ensure our voice is heard on the Senate Floor amendment process.