Washington (CNN) – Senate Republicans - who had vowed to keep the Senate in session late on Christmas Eve, and possibly even Christmas Day - relented Tuesday and agreed to a final vote on health care legislation at 8 am on Thursday, Dec. 24.
Their decision comes after losing several key votes to Democrats that signaled the health care overhaul would eventually pass the Senate.
"There were extensive conversations about how do we keep the time we need to expose the deficiencies of this bill and, of course, the sweetheart deals that produced it, but yet show respect to people and their families, let them get home at least in time for Christmas Eve," Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said in a CNN interview.
The early vote would also allow senators to flee Washington ahead of a developing winter storm out West. One GOP source said travel plans of about half the Republicans in the Senate were threatened by the looming snowstorm.
A collective sigh of relief could be heard from senators and staff across the Capitol as word spread the final vote would be 11 hours earlier than anticipated. Even some GOP senators who strongly oppose the health bill acknowledged they didn't want to spend Christmas in DC.
One of them, Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told CNN Radio she hoped to make the long journey home in time to attend midnight Mass with her family. "I am who I am because of my family," she said.
Republican leaders pointed to a consolation prize of sorts, an agreement they secured from Democrats to hold a debate and vote on the politically thorny issue of increasing the nation's debt limit right around the same time as President Obama's State of the Union address.
But that was not enough for conservative Erick Erickson of the blog RedState. "Mitch McConnell surrenders," he tweeted.
All of their stalling and slamming did nothing but dilute this bill and postpone for 3 months any work getting done on the Jobs Bills and others that are backlogged because of their selfish tantrums.
Lumps of coal to the republicans at christmas (jerks).
Wow. In other words, the snowstorm crushed all the potential negativity and stress Republicans wanted to create for the Dems! I guess God don't like ugly. Merry Christmas ;-).
Health Insurance stocks, Big Pharma stocks UP
This bill can't be all that bad for those guys, which more than SUGGESTS that it isn't going to be all that good for us.
Certain defeat and a snow storm is all that is needed to take down the Party of No? How pathetic.
Maybe, when they come back, they will bring some GOOD ideas with them, ideas that Democrats can agree to and help with. Let's start the New Year with a real Bipartisan government, let's find a middle ground where the rich stay rich but the "not rich" have a chance to GET rich.
I guess that God is now telling Republicans to finally put a cork in it. Common sense apparently wasn't enough.
Get it done. We'll all be happy we did.
Give it a rest already....you lost and don't have enough votes to make a difference. Everybody is tired of the same old boring rhetorical speeches by the GOP Senate. Go home and get some rest.
We should spend on US Citizens healthcare instead of "building nations by destroying them with wars" like the republicans want.
Obama dismisses complaints about health care bill, that means Obama is NOT HEARING THE PEOPLE. Obama is a traitor and should be convicted of treason for lieing about the constitution rights.
IMPEACH OBAMA NOW.
there's no way for House liberals to accept a bill without a public option, without insured abortion rights, and with no taxes on the wealthy.
Just sit back and enjoy the fight as the bill disintegrates bbefore your eyes.
Obama is ONE and DONE.
These people all they think is themselves– not us.
The GOP: All talk but in the end they wimp out as usual.
Country first? At the first sign that they have to put their country first and possibly spend christmas in D.C they hide their tail? If they love their country they should hold out as long as possible even if it means spending christmas in D.C. Cowards!
Who cares if these people have to spend Christmas working. They don't spend much time during the rest of the year doing anything of value. It would make a statement that this issue is very important and must be done correctly. This type of behavior, by all elected officals, demonstates their commitment to themselfs.
Ask Senator Coburn if anyone is praying the Republican members of the Senate won't make it home on time for Xmas.
He may be a doctor in real life, but he plays a vile little man on TV.
A happy ending – you will all be home for Christmas....
A happy ending – the bill passed!!
A sad ending – all of you who held out in an attempt to bring President Obama DOWN lost this battle and the war!!!
I don't care if they are there thru Christmas – delay as long as you can. None of the demon-crats are Christians any way – so they don't need the day off.
GOP members did the right thing
Go home losers. Come back next year, maybe by then we'll have forgotten how the GOP and a few scum bag DEMs tried to screw hardwordking Americans in favor of making huge profits for their Big Insurance campaign contributors.
Cash for cloture. The Democrats sold their vote. They sold it for
getting seniors in Florida to pay less for Medicare benefits than
seniors elsewhere. Vermont and Nebraska went ditto. Now seniors
in the rest of the country will be paying more than their share.
Harry Reid sold them out to get his 60 votes. Dump Reid in 2010
as well as other incumbent senate Democrats who sold their votes.
A lot of the criticism of the "perks" that some of the Democrats asked for in the health bill seems to be quite misguided. Sen. Dodd did not need to be won over because he has always supported the health care bill. His request for funding to build a hospital in his state or some other one seems quite logical. After all, this is a health care bill that will provide more coverage for more people so they will need more facilities obviously. Wherever it is built it will create many hundreds of jobs building it and later staffing it plus it will make health care accessible to more people. How is this bad? If a state is in such bad economic times that it can't afford to help shoulder its share of the cost, then what is so awful about the government helping them out.? This isn't helping the Senator. It is helping the people. Whenever the Republicans spout their criticisms of these so-called "perks" I remind them that every time you point your finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you.
Thanks to Republicans and many of the Democrats, this healthcare bill is going to end up being a big ripoff of the taxpayers to feed money to the health insurance and pharmeceutical mega-corporations and their 8-digit salary execs. Joe Lieberman and his ilk, along with the millions of dollars in "campaign contributions" from the insurance lobby, will certainly reap the rewards when they leave the senate and go on to sit on the boards of directors of health industry corporations.
In my opinion, his behavior is indicitive of why we shouldn't allow citizens of other nations to serve in congress. I don't know where Lieberman's loyalties lie, but it must be with either insurance/pharma corps, or his other nation of citizenship – certainly not the USA, because he's screwing Americans, and everyone: Republican, Democrat, and Independent knows it. He acted on orders from the insurance lobby, and their stocks have skyrocketed since. He is just one of many traitors in political office, all of whom should be tried for treason.
With 60 votes, the democrats don't need to bother with opposing views in their quest to wreck the US economy.
Santa's gift to the US? Higher unemployment, higher inflation and runaway deficits.
Best start learning Manderin.
Our Government is as shady now as it was under Bush. In some ways it's even worse now.
The republicans finally relent to "allow" a vote to occur that they know they already lost.
It's bad enough that the republican policies of the Bush era have placed most middle class Americans in dire economic strait now, they want to steal away our health – the republican party is pure evil and greed.