Panel’s Battles on Health Highlight a Broader Split
By Robert Pear and Jackie Calmes
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats swatted down Republican attempts to make fundamental changes in their health care legislation on Wednesday as the Finance Committee voted on a wide range of amendments that highlighted the deep partisan divide over the bill.
The committee rejected an amendment offered by Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, that would have deferred a final committee vote until the panel had actual legislative language and a complete cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. The vote was 13 to 10.
Mr. Bunning’s proposal would have required the text of the bill and the cost estimate to be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before the committee voted on whether to send the bill to the full Senate.
“This bill will impact every American,” Mr. Bunning said. “It is too big and too important for us to rely on conceptual language and a preliminary estimate of cost.”
Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, the one Republican who might eventually vote for the bill, supported Mr. Bunning’s proposal. “The American people are nervous about our attempt at health care reform and overhauling 17 percent of the economy,” Ms. Snowe said. “If it takes two more weeks, it takes two more weeks. What is the rush?”
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