In a previous post today, I missed something important regarding Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns Medicare cuts amendment–as you may recall, it would have restored $42 billion in Medicare cuts over 10 years. I failed to note that an important aspect of the amendment was that it forced Democrats to go on record in favor of the cuts that will drastically curtail home health-care aid for older citizens. Not only does this inflict pain on older people, this was a risky vote.
It didn’t pass–nobody thought it would. But four Democrats voted for the Johanns amendment: Sens. Jim Webb of Virginia, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. All Republicans voted for it. This will come up again when the other Democrats of the Senate come up for re-election. It’s terrific to get the Democrats on record on this.
When the entire bill is up for a vote, however, the Democrats will seek to present it as a whole without a focus on the parts. Still, the Republicans were smart to do this today. Don’t think they didn’t have some campaign ads in mind as the votes against Johanns were counted!