Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.) proposed preventing Medicare cuts, for example, while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) proposed striking all special provisions for states in the bill and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) proposed an amendment to prohibit any taxes for middle-income families. Gregg’s amendment failed, 42-56; McCain’s proposal failed, 43-54, and Crapo’s failed, 43-56.
Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyo.) also proposed striking a mandate that small businesses offer health insurance, which failed, 41-58; Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.) tried to prohibit any insurance premium increases, which failed, 41-57; Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) filed an amendment to reduce interest rates for student loans, which failed, 41-58; Sen. George LeMieux (Fla.) proposed steering members of Congress into Medicaid, which failed, 40-59; and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) proposed allowing states to opt-out of the new healthcare law. That failed on a 41-58 vote.
One amendment that received perhaps the most early attention: a proposal by Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.) to prohibit Viagra from being distributed to convicted sex offenders. That failed on a 42-57 vote.
Most of the amendments offered would have shrunk, changed or repealed some of the most egregious portions of Obamacare that Obama signed into law.
Earlier Wednesday evening, Democrats locked down on vote after vote on GOP amendments that would have shrinked or repealed altogether the healthcare reform bill passed by the Senate last December and by the House on a 219-212 vote last weekend. As of 3 a.m. Thursday, the chamber had defeated 29 straight Republican proposals and adopted none.
Pretty much went the same way the bill was written originally, by Democrats refusing to consider any GOP input.
With that said, there were a few Democratic Senators that crossed the aisle and voted on the amendments as they saw fit, instead of simply rejecting them out of hand to follow party line votes.
Democrats Evan Bayh of Indiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Nelson of Nebraska strayed frequently from their party during Wednesday night’s voting. Bayh, who is retiring, crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans 10 times. Lincoln, who faces a tough re-election race, supported Republicans eight times. Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia also bucked his party three times.
Nelson, who has come under fire from the conservative base of his state for his support of the healthcare reform effort, supported the GOP the most — on 20 out of 29 votes as of the 3 a.m. adjournment.
Nelson said he had informed Reid of his votes beforehand.
“I evaluate each of these amendments individually. I didn’t agree to be part of a bloc, to vote a certain way,” Nelson said of his votes. “I’m interested in the other side’s ideas, and I agree with them on a number of them.
No matter the political reason for offering the amendments, some of those provisions would have made the bill better and were rejected out of hand.
Those votes will be used against Democrats in November, count on it.