An Interesting Turn of Events

Posted on November 19, 2009 by


Senator Harkin of Iowa

By Jim Chandley

Almost two weeks ago, this publication reported that Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut said he would, “not allow [the House Health Reform Bill] to come to a final vote,” as a matter of conscience.  Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said on Wednesday that he expects the bill to move forward to Senate debate.

Harkin said that the bill would come to a vote despite Republican efforts to filibuster.  This means that the Democrats believe there are 60 votes for a cloture petition.  This is a rare and difficult political maneuver for either party to execute.  It means that those 60 Senators would vote not to recognize the remaining 40 Senators who would like to delay debate.

If this move is to succeed, Democrats would theoretically need the vote of Senator Lieberman.  When asked specifically about Lieberman, Harkin said that he would be with the Democrats on this vote.  Lieberman has been an enigma at best for Democrats since his loss on the Al Gore ticket in 2000.  While his vote is uncertain, it is always an interesting part of Senate proceedings to watch.