Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), who is recovering from an accident in which her ankle was broken in multiple places, got to the Capitol at 7:30 a.m. Saturday after a treacherous two-hour drive down Interstate 95 from Baltimore.
In a rare early Saturday morning vote, the Senate passed a massive Pentagon spending bill that includes nearly $130 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a measure Republicans had tried to block as a means of delaying action on President Obama’s health-care overhaul.
The Democrats wouldn’t even sit in the same room. At one end of the majority leader’s office, Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), the antiabortion senator whose support was crucial to health-care legislation, huddled with White House staff in a conference room. At the other end, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and…
The once-obscure federal panel that triggered a firestorm with its new mammography guidelines would get far greater authority under the health-care reform proposals pending in Congress, sparking more debate about its power and independence.
Amid the spectacle that has become the health-care debate, Democrats have taken comfort in the belief that they will be rewarded politically if in the end they pass something — almost anything. That proposition is being sorely tested in these final days of maneuvering.
Senate Democrats said Saturday that they had closed ranks in support of legislation to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, ending months of internal division and clearing a path for quick Senate passage of President Obama’s top domestic policy priority.