Will Democrats Vote For The Blunt Amendment?

Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones reports that a vote on the Blunt Amendment, which will allow employers to opt out of providing any form of health insurance coverage they object to, will happen soon, perhaps tomorrow.

Erick Erickson is criticizing Mitch McConnell for providing Dem Senators "cover" by offering the Blunt Amendment:

On its surface, it is a good amendment. It will allow religious employers to opt out of the new Obamacare mandate on contraception and abortifacient drugs. But strategically, it is another lame effort by Senator Mitch McConnell to let Senate Democrats in swing states absolve themselves of any blame for what Barack Obama has done.

Erickson assumes Democratic Senators will vote for the Blunt Amendment. It would surprise me if any Dem other than Ben Nelson would do so. More importantly, I think it should disqualify any Dem from support if they did. The DSCC has issued a petition against it:

Republican senators are pushing the Blunt Amendment, an all-out assault on President Obama’s historic health care reform. The amendment would allow any employer to deny coverage of any health care service. This amendment goes even beyond trying to prevent women from using birth control. If your employer decided that it did not want to cover your expensive cancer treatment for any reason, they wouldn’t have to cover it. Period.

Add your name, and take a stand for comprehensive health care and against the Blunt Amendment.

If any Dem Senators support the Blunt Amendment, should that not disqualify them from DSCC support? And if not, why should any progressive give a dime to the DSCC? (I do not give to any group other than candidates myself.)

Speaking for me only

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    Since Erik Erikson doesn't even (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 12:49:30 PM EST
    understand what the Blunt amendment says - he seems to think it has to do with religious employers, when in fact it has to do with "any" employers - the opinion that flows from it is equally wrong.

    I've given up any hope that Dems who deviate from alleged Democratic orthodoxy will have to suffer through anything more punitive than a sternly-worded letter; the goal is to elect Democrats, no matter how poor an excuse for Democrats they may be, so if any Democratic Senator votes for the Blunt Amendment, I'm guessing he or she will still receive support of some kind.

    And, if not voting for the amendment would somehow sink the transportation bill to which it is attached, or if you hear Obama come out and hector Dems to get this much-needed bill passed, don't be surprised if Dems vote for the amendment, consistent with the usual reason they give: "we had no choice."

    Please let me be pleasantly surprised.  Please.

    Why does the Blunt Amendment (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 02:03:03 PM EST
    have to be voted on?   Where is Senator Reid's fancy parliamentary footwork?   Rather than an amendment to the Highway and Highway Safety construction re-authorization bill, tack Blunt on to a DOMA repeal bill, for example---that should give it an early demise.  The Democrats do, after all, control the senate and its agenda, and they have served a long apprenticeship under the Republican minority.

    The Democrats (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Zorba on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 02:06:23 PM EST
    have no spine.  And since when has Harry Reid engaged in fancy parliamentary footwork?   ;-)

    in today's version of (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by CST on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 02:11:00 PM EST
    politics makes strange bedfellows - I'm okay with it going to a vote - so long as it doesn't pass of course.

    There has been a mild $hitstorm over Brown's support of the amendment and I'd like that to continue.  Throw in his ill-conceived ad trying to use Ted Kennedy as a shield and you've got some serious political problems, especially as his family has come out pretty hard condemning it and Brown has decided to double down.

    So from a local horse race perspective, I say let them fly their freak flags if they want.  They just better not have enough of them to actually get it passed.


    Well, maybe it will dawn on (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 02:49:51 PM EST
    the electorate that they elected a Republican.  They may have thought that they married just Scott Brown but they also got the Republican in-laws.

    Hopefully (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by CST on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 02:58:28 PM EST
    he's done a decent balancing act so far.  But throw in a presidential election year, and the fact that the whole senate may swing red, and you may find the additional ooomph needed to get Warren over the top.

    Also I feel like Warren has enough positive reasons to vote for her that she is capable of swinging this thing on her own.  But it remains to be seen, as the horse race hasn't gotten in full swing yet.

    I have no concept of what Snowe's retirement will mean for Dem hopes in Maine, although it obviously can't hurt.  But from what I understand she hasn't jumped right on board with this amendment - she's worried about its consequences - so she's not giving Brown any cover on this.  If she does eventually come out against it it could hurt him even more.


    Pundit consensus on Maine (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 04:26:47 PM EST
    is that the Dems have a first-rate chance of taking that Senate seat.  Rep. Pingree is the most obvious candidate, and there aren't any wildly popular Repubs ready to step in up there, apparently.

    Also, Maine is still pretty strongly pro-Obama, so that will help Pingree if she runs, which she's expected to do.


    my bad (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 07:44:14 AM EST
    Read it wrong

    How right you are Keys (none / 0) (#21)
    by cal1942 on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 10:58:10 PM EST
    I talk to far too many people who don't understand that voting for any Republican means you get the whole freaking bunch.  People don't understand the caucus concept.  It seems, needlessly, to be way over their heads.  It's not rocket science.

    Maybe Sen. Reid wants (none / 0) (#18)
    by christinep on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 04:38:29 PM EST
    The Repubs on record.  Not a "have to"; rather a "want to.". I'm assuming, of course, that the Nevada Senator knows if he has a winning hand.

    Yep, make the battlelines (none / 0) (#19)
    by brodie on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 05:41:05 PM EST
    perfectly clear by putting this to a clean formal vote.  And presumably Reid knows he has the votes to defeat it.

    Seems to me that the battle lines (none / 0) (#23)
    by KeysDan on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 10:07:50 AM EST
    are pretty clear, as is.   For the  Democrats to aid and abet the Republicans' cynicism is unseemly  in my view.   Besides, the stakes are too high to play games with.

    It ain't beanbag (none / 0) (#24)
    by christinep on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 11:59:25 AM EST
    ...as is often said.  Reid knew what he had; and, now, we & the record know as well.  

    Didn't need that record, the (none / 0) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 12:37:24 PM EST
    Republicans have done a good job all by themselves.  President Obama and Secretary Sebelius had it right and allowing a vote showed, in my view, weakness not strength--putting up to a vote a key part of the ACA.  The vote also showed that three Democrats were not in alignment .  Moreover, the vote taken was for "tabling",  not to kill it.  Although, this has the same legislative effect, it will be coupled up with "religious freedom", anti-religion, and endorsements from Catholic bishops.   In any event, it will not put the issue to rest, but rather will exacerbate it.   But, it is done, and we will  just have to wait to see hoping that the Democrats will marshall  strong arguments for their position.

    Understand, but... (none / 0) (#26)
    by christinep on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 06:11:43 PM EST
    I find that a vote upfront, as happened today, sends a quick message about more than power numbers in the Senate.  Any Senatorial mischief  will be looked upon by the media as only follow-up mischief because the "tabled" matter is really off the table with the demonstration of Senate numbers.

    It will be interesting, tho.  


    Well, Vice President Biden (none / 0) (#27)
    by KeysDan on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 06:34:39 PM EST
    is out of the gate with a great argument:  'the first iteration was screwed up".    

    The only Blunt Amendment I'd support... (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Dadler on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 06:59:23 PM EST
    ...would have to be brought to the floor by Cypress Hill or Dr. Dre

    Why would (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 12:31:32 PM EST
    McConnell want to give cover to moderate Democrats?  He needs to pick off 4 seats to become Majority Leader.

    Yes (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 02:47:04 PM EST
    But McConnell only has 10 (or maybe 11) seats to defend, most of which are considered "safe" last I read.  The Dems, meanwhile, have 23, about 12 or so which are considered "safe".  Possibly a pick up in Maine, Massachussetts - who knows?  Kerrey might keep Nebraska, but again, who knows?  North Dakota will probably go R.

    A net 4 seats out of 23 potential pick ups - pretty good odds.

    Oh, and McConnell only needs 3 pick ups if the WH goes Republucan because the VP will break any ties.


    I spoke too soon (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 03:00:32 PM EST
    Kerrey says he's not running for the Senate.

    Looks like Nebraska is back in play.


    what? (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by CST on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 03:05:58 PM EST
    Kerrey says he is running for senate.

    "Doing things the conventional way has never been my strong suit," Kerrey said in a statement. "This afternoon, I will file to become a candidate for the United States Senate in Nebraska."


    Did anybody look (none / 0) (#16)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 04:23:34 PM EST
    to see if he had his fingers crossed behind his back when he issued that statement?

    Not to mention that being in the U.S. Senate (none / 0) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 04:22:29 PM EST
    isn't where you get to implement any such "detailed plan for improving tourism and Hawaii's economy."

    That's a really bizarre ad, IMO.


    I'm really hoping (none / 0) (#2)
    by CST on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 12:32:51 PM EST
    this sinks Scott Brown for good.

    New Public Service Announcement (none / 0) (#3)
    by me only on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 12:40:00 PM EST
    This is your brain (picture of nice brain)

    This is your brain on Redstate (picture of brain gasping for air).

    Please, no more links to Redstate.  I need my brain, my children need my brain, and my wife possibly needs something that my brain provides.

    Didn't Manchin (Punk - WV)... (none / 0) (#5)
    by magster on Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 01:06:49 PM EST
    ... declare support for the amendment?