Thursday, October 22, 2009

Elections Have Consequences

The Senate joined the House and today passed the Matthew Shepherd hate crimes legislation. The bill was attached to a defense appropriations bill and 58 Democrats and 9 Republicans voted for the bill. Russ Feingold(D-WI) opposed the bill because of elements relating to Afghanistan in the defense appropriations section and Robert Byrd(D-WV) was not present to vote.

Also from the hill today comes word that the healthcare bill that goes to the Senate floor will probably have a public option. Most moderate Democrats appear mollified by the knowledge that they will have a chance to vote to strip the public option provision. If a public option is in the bill then its opponents need 60 votes to strip it out of the bill, and if it is not included proponents need 60 to insert it. This news makes it very possible that the final bill will include some form of a public option.

This is good news and a reminder of why many of us worked, contributed money, and voted for President Obama and the Democrats.

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