by Charles Lemos, Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 07:11:45 PM EDT
The House and Senate passed the compromise legislation to finance the Federal government for the balance FY 2011, with 59 House Republicans breaking ranks to vote against the deal. The overall vote in the House was 260-167. Eighty-one Democrats gave House Speakerthe votes needed for the bill's passage.
In the Senate, the vote was 81-19, with dissenting votes mostly coming from more conservative Republicans. In the Senate, 48 Democrats, 32 Republicans and independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut voted in favor.
Vermont's Bernie Sanders voted no proving the dictum that politics does indeed make for odd bedfellows. Three Senate Democrats voted no: Ron Wyden of Oregon, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Carl Levin of Michigan. The deal struck by the White House, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid cut $2 billion in funding for non-profit healthcare cooperatives which was intended to function as a weaker version of the public option. These were much championed by Senator Sanders. Also cut were Senator Wyden's provision that would have allowed low-income earners to opt out of employer-sponsored health insurance to purchase insurance on the new exchanges. Both measures were part of the healthcare cost containment focus in the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Rand Paul, Kentucky's libertarian Senator, despite threats to block the bill earlier in the week passed on filibustering the bill and instead allowed a quick vote following House passage a few hours earlier. Other Republicans voting no included Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill by tomorrow, but the debate in the nation's capital has already moved on to bigger spending battles, with a critical vote to raise the Federal debt limit, the FY12 budget and long-term deficit reduction all in play.
Twenty-eight out of the 87 freshman Republicans in the House voted no. A number of Tea Party backed freshmen said they were disappointed by the deal struck last week by House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the White House. Among the Republicans who voted no were Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan, Rep. Allen West of Florida, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Rep.Rep. Rep. Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana and Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota. Huizenga, West and Quayle are freshmen. Paul and Bachmann are believed to hold Presidential aspirations while Mike Pence of Indiana is seen as possible Vice Presidential material.
The vote divided the Democratic leadership in the House with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi voting no but the Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland voted to support the measure.
More on this from the National Journal.