‘Doc Fix’ Heads to Obama: GOP Senators Switch Votes Within Minutes
Posted at 8:03 p.m. on March 31, 2014
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
They voted for it before they voted against it.
Several Senate Republicans who backed a procedural motion to allow the measure known as the “doc fix” to get a final vote opposed the legislation — the very same day. The final vote on the bill, Congress’ 16th “doc fix” patch, was 64-35. It passed thanks to Republican moderates and party leadership on both sides.
The one-year bill was a deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio that had angered many on the right for the way it was handled in the House last week with an unanticipated voice vote.
During the first vote Monday, GOP Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and David Vitter of Louisiana joined the effort to waive the budget rules and clear the first hurdle to put the measure on a path to passage.
But it was a different mix of Republicans who supported the “doc fix” bill just minutes after and helped send it to President Barack Obama’s desk.
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Blunt, Burr, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Collins, Cornyn, Hatch, Heller, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Kirk, McConnell, Murkowski, Vitter and Roger Wicker of Mississippi voted in favor of the deal itself.
There were Democratic defectors on the final passage vote, including Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, who is seeking a long-term solution.
Fellow Democrats Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, Al Franken of Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Mark Warner of Virginia joined Wyden in the “no” column.
The stopgap measure reaches Obama ahead of cuts scheduled to hit doctors who treat Medicare patients.