Senate Democrats sought to push back Monday against GOP charges that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reids (D-Nev.) $848 billion health care bill is a costly expansion of the federal government, maintaining the bill will help cut the deficit while reining in costs.
Contrary to what weve heard from some of our opponents, the bill is going to actually help with our deficit, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said on a conference call, touting a letter that a group of economists sent to lawmakers Monday praising the measure.
Shaheen argued that the bill eliminates some of the costly inefficiencies such as re-hospitalizations, and will help bring down the overall costs of the health care system.
Our health care system is too expensive for families, workers, business owners, and our nations economy, and we need to fix it. ... This legislation is the first step toward achieving these goals and containing health care costs for all Americans, Shaheen told reporters.
The conference call comes two days after Senators voted 60-39 to begin debate on Reids plan. The measure is expected to dominate the chambers agenda from the time Senators return next week until Christmas.
Similarly, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) argued that Saturdays vote is a good first step toward helping turn the economy around. Saturdays vote was a significant step forward ... to enacting meaningful health care reform, Bennett said, adding that we have a lot to do to get our country back on sound financial footing, and this bill will help us do that.
Senators headed home Saturday night for the weeklong Thanksgiving recess. Although Senators are likely to hear an earful from their constituents about the legislation, it appears unlikely at this point they will see a repeat of the angry town halls that dominated the monthlong August break.
Most of the anti-health-care-reform movements focus has been on the House for instance, while thousands of conservatives protested during the lead-up to the House vote earlier this month, only a handful of protesters were on hand outside the Capitol for the Senates vote on Saturday.
Additionally, while some Republican Senators like Jim DeMint (S.C.) have made a point of courting protesters, most Republicans in the Senate have tried to keep their distance.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.