Senate votes to proceed with debate on healthcare “reform”

Via Fox News:

WASHINGTON — Sweeping health care legislation has cleared its first hurdle in the Senate on a party-line vote.

The 60-39 vote clears the way for a historic debate after Thanksgiving on the legislation. The measure is designed to extend coverage to an estimated 31 million Americans who lack it and crack down on insurance industry practices that deny benefits.

The rare Saturday session amounted to a first round in the fight to pass the bill in the full Senate, with the remaining Democratic holdouts announcing they would support at least the measure to open debate on the bill, avoiding an early knockout by Republicans.

Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana waited until Saturday to say they would vote yes for a floor debate. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced Friday his support for moving the bill forward.

All three cautioned that their votes to start debate should not be construed a support for the bill in its current form.

“It is a vote to move forward to continue the good and essential and important and imperative work that is under way,” Landrieu said on the Senate floor. “I’ve decided that there’s enough significant reforms and safeguards in this bill to move forward but more work needs to be done.”

Lincoln said she still would support a filibuster if the so-called “public option,” a government-run insurance plan, remains in the health care bill.

“I along with others expect to have legitimate opportunities to influence the health care reform legislation that is voted on by the Senate later this year or early next year,” she said.

Uh huh – and risk the $100,000,000 that was used to buy you off, Senator Landrieu? Don’t make me laugh.

Michelle Malkin is liveblogging the post-vote goings on, and notes that Ted Kennedy’s name has already been invoked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who earlier had likened GOP opposition to his version of healthcare reform to “slavery.”

Sigh. As our Vice President once famously said: Gird your loins.

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