Lieberman, Webb to Vote Yes’ on Reconciliation
Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.) announced Wednesday that they would support the reconciliation package, although they indicated during floor remarks that they have lingering concerns about the legislation as well as the Senate health care overhaul signed into law by President Barack Obama on Tuesday.
Lieberman’s decision to support reconciliation is noteworthy given his previous concerns over the Democratic health care reform agenda. Lieberman supported the underlying Senate bill signed by Obama, but not before forcing Democrats to eliminate a public insurance option and Medicare buy-in provisions under threat of filibuster.
“As I said when I explained in December why I was voting for the Senate health care reform bill, any piece of legislation this big, this complicated, and this transformational is unlikely to be perfectly pleasing to anyone. That is true for me. In the end, each of us has to ask ourselves: Do the positives in this legislation outweigh the negatives? Does what pleases us in it outweigh what worries us?” Lieberman said. “In the end, after weighing all the pluses and minuses, I have decided to vote for this health care reform package, choosing its real change over the broken status quo, raising my hopes above my fears, and adding a personal prayer that future Congresses and presidents do not weaken the reforms in this bill that will stop the constant increases in health care and health insurance costs and help reduce our national debt.”
Webb’s support of reconciliation was more predictable, although he did vote with the Republicans on several amendments to the underlying Senate bill in December, when the law was debated on the floor.
“I’m going to support this reconciliation bill. At the same time, as my colleagues on this side of the aisle know well, I worked very hard to narrow and improve this legislation that passed last December, including voting eight different times with my Republican colleagues to make changes to the bill,” Webb said. “In the end, I voted in favor of this legislation despite some serious misgivings with portions of it because it does represent a true step forward in terms of quality, accessibility and affordability of health care for most Americans.”
Democratic leaders are expected to have the 51 votes they’ll need to clear the package. Only Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) have said they intend to vote “no.”