Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 28, 2015

‘Doc Fix’ Heads to Obama: GOP Senators Switch Votes Within Minutes

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(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.

  • Derfallbright

    Despite claims they have no money, Congress still finds ways to waste money on pork barrel projects. In the mid 60’s LBJ passed medicare, the war on poverty, the space race to the moon and the war in Vietnam all without honestly facing the people with the need to raise taxes then or in the future to cover the cost of these programs. (remember the big catch phase at the time was “we can have guns and butter”. It’s easy to vote for things when they do not need to make financial sacrifices to do them.

    Medicare simply is not paying Doctors the appropriate amount to cover the current costs of their services. The ‘so called’ Doctor fix still does not fix the problem….it’s just more kicking the can down the road. Medicare is still filled with fraud and corruption that Congress refuses to take seriously.

    • Beeker

      the space race to the moon

      It got its start under the Kennedy administration.

      • Derfallbright

        You are correct JFK made a famous speech about landing on the moon, but the driving political force behind NASA and the space program was LBJ. The next time you see the movie ‘The Right Stuff” you will notice the prominent role LBJ played in the founding days of the program.

        Now if I were to speak negatively about LBJ (I lived in Texas at one time, so Texans have a mixed view of LBJ) He was a long time politician and the reason the space program was spread all over the country had more to do with politics and pork than actual operational practicality. If you ever get a chance to tour the ‘Johnson’ space center in Houston you will notice it looks just like a college campus… was built with the plan it would become ‘Johnson’ Jr. college as soon as the race to the moon was over….or other priorities for spending took over. At the end of the day at a minimum Texas would have ended up with a full college campus paid for by the US taxpayers.

        Had JFK not been assassinated it is not clear that other than beating the Russians to the moon, the space race would have remained a priority for government emergency unbudged funding.

        I now live in Florida and knew many of the people that worked on the space program in the 60’s and incredible amounts of money was spent meeting Kennedy’s ‘put a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before the end of the century’ speach.

        The part about ‘returning him safely to earth’ was the expensive part. If all that was needed was a one way trip, that could have been accomplished for a lower cost.

        Now back to politics, the space program followed the tried and true big government spending project method by making sure as many Senators as possible had jobs associated with the space program that made it difficult for them to vote against spending.

        My point was LBJ was a master politician, he managed to get funding for major projects that were not paid for and demographics showed were going to become a significant cost as the baby boomers reached retirement. (at the time most of the early baby boomers were in their 20’s. Congress rarely looks at the costs beyond 10 years). I’m not saying this has not happened in Congress before, but it has now become a way of life.

        • Ralph

          They were first on the moon not USA

          • Derfallbright

            The big concern was they would be the first to land a man on the moon. When you look back at it…’s hard to fully understand why that was so critical. I guess that is what the cold war was all about. I would be a little nervous if I was on the space station right now.

  • Roberta Crichton

    Additional fears of liberty and responsibility arise as natural reactions to the persistent effort and continuous self-discipline required to succeed in a free country.

  • Forest Black

    Those of the liberty school recognize our mind’s limits and are humble toward the processes through which Western civilization has expanded.

  • Hetero Lingo

    More dangerous to liberty than the notion of merit-based rewards is the notion of “distributive justice”; a notion that requires each of us be subjected to centralized control.

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