On Saturday night, Senate Democrats squeaked by with the exact number of votes they needed to begin debate on their health care bill. But they'd prefer to not repeat that when it comes time to vote on the bill's passage. So Harry Reid and Co. have set their eyes north, on Maine.
After Saturday's vote, Reid personally reached out to Maine's GOP Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who voted no on Saturday like all the rest of the Senate Republicans. But unlike most of their colleagues, they're not treating the Democrats's bill like some kind of second coming of small pox.
Collins, whose main concern is the bill's lack of emphasis on reining in the cost of coverage, said:
“I have ruled out voting for this bill but I still very much want to vote for a bill and that is why I am continuing to have discussions. I still cling to the belief that it is possible for a group of us to come together and rewrite the bill in a way that would cause it to have greater support.”
Snowe, who was the only Republican to support the Senate Finance Committee's health care proposal, withdrew her support when the public option was added. But she hasn't given up on the bill yet.
“I’m prepared to continue to work to improve the legislation,” said Ms. Snowe, who said how her proposals are handled will “be a true test of whether there is a will to improve this legislation in a non-ideological, bipartisan manner.”
Over the next few weeks Snowe and Collins are going to be the target of some intense courting, which, we understand, can work out pretty well for their state.