By GREG HITT
WASHINGTON — For Republicans, the Saturday vote on health care in the Senate was the first skirmish in a longer battle aimed at frustrating White House ambitions and ensuring that Democrats bear full responsibility for legislation the GOP sees as increasingly unpopular with Americans.
With the 2010 election year looming, Republicans forced Democratic leaders to demonstrate that they can pull together a 60-vote majority for the bill. All 58 Democrats and the two independents allied with the party joined together, voting to avert a Republican filibuster that threatened to stall action.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, with a copy of the Senate’s health bill in front of him, at a news conference Saturday in Washington.
“Our goal is to let the American people know what it does for them and to them,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) said on “Fox News Sunday.” Among other things, the bill would raise Medicare payroll taxes for the wealthy and cut Medicare payments to health-care providers, while expanding eligibility for Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor. “We think if the American people know that, the bill will collapse of its own weight,” Mr. Alexander said. MORE