Big news this morning when a news article reported that Sen. Blanche Lincoln might after all vote for health legislation under a simple majority procedure, depending on the contents of companion legislation.
Her earlier announced intention to oppose a so-called reconciliation vote was, at a minimum, pointless, it seemed to me. A lot of political people I talked with last night used rougher terms. Like stupid.
Lincoln was the critical 60th vote in ending the Senate filibuster on health legislation and gave the bill her vote. It was her finest hour. If some health legislation passes, supporters can thank Blanche Lincoln. She was hung with that no matter what she did on subsequent votes.
OH NEVER MIND: After news of the senator's moderation flew around the web for several hours, Senator Lincoln issued a statement saying that the reporter who wrote the story on which her supposed rethinking was premised "mischaracterized" her remark. Here's the reporter's followup account. Whatever the confusion, Lincoln is reiterating now what she has said for sometime, she's a "no" on reconciliation.
Washington – U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln today reiterated her opposition to altering the health insurance reform bill using budget reconciliation.
“Sen. Olympia Snowe and I have proposed a bipartisan way forward on health care and I still hope that my colleagues will consider it,” Lincoln said. “I have promised my constituents that I will not support income tax increases to pay for health care and I will seek bipartisan solutions. This takes budget reconciliation as an alternative means to pass health care reform off the table for me. I have fought for and ensured transparency throughout this process, and I believe we must get over this final hurdle using the regular rules of the Senate."
Lincoln released the following [sic] statement after remarks made to a reporter earlier today were mischaracterized.
So back to pointless and stupid.
PS: Bill Halter says he supports passing health care reform with a simple majority vote.