WASHINGTON — Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said on Sunday she will join Republicans in filibustering the Senate health care bill, claiming the process has been moving too fast.
“I deeply regret that I cannot support the pending Senate legislation as it currently stands,” Snowe said in a statement, announcing that she won’t allow it to proceed to a final vote.
She cited “continued concerns with the measure and an artificial and arbitrary deadline of completing the bill before Christmas that is shortchanging the process on this monumental and trans-generational effort.”
Snowe’s affirmation comes one day after Senate Democrats announced their unified support, along with the two independent senators, for the bill. As things stand, every Republican is projected to filibuster it.
“Only three weeks ago the Senate received a more than 2,000 page bill on one of the most complex issues in our history,” Snowe said. “It defies logic that we are now expected to vote on the overall, final package before Christmas with no opportunity to amend it.”
Snowe echoed these claims on Sunday in an appearance on CBS. “This process denies us the opportunity to thoroughly and carefully and deliberately evaluate what’s at stake,” she said.
The Senator from Maine told the New York Times that “it is a take-it-or-leave-it package.” She said she still remains interested in pursuing health reform, just not the current version on the table.
Snowe’s declaration leaves no room for the Democratic leadership to upset any senators, as each of the 60 outside the GOP are now critical to the success of the legislation.
“I remain convinced we must work toward a responsible, common sense solution to reverse the trend of spiraling health care costs,” she said, “that will cause one-in-four Americans this year to have either inadequate coverage or none at all, and threatens affordable coverage for millions more Americans in the future.”
The GOP leadership has on numerous instances said the process is moving too fast. Democrats have shot back and said this health care debate has been going on for over a year.
Snowe’s vote has been heavily courted by the White House and Democratic leadership in an effort to achieve a bipartisan bill. They succeeded in winning her vote for the Senate Finance Committee bill, which also excluded the public option. Snowe’s demands have largely centered on removing the provision.