Some rare good news in the Senate:
Sen. Olympia Snowe, the Maine Republican who this week said she would not run for reelection, joined nearly all Democrats in a 51-48 vote to dispense of the amendment, which would have allowed employers to decline to cover certain health benefits that conflict with their religious beliefs.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted for the proposed amendment to the Senate transportation bill, saying the Obama administration did not respond to her concerns about whether self-insured health plans of faith-based organizations would be exempt from the contraception coverage mandate. So did Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who this week questioned why Republicans were voting on the proposal now.
Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania joined Republicans in support of the amendment.
Afterwards, Blunt said the vote went “just as he expected it to go.”
“I’m pleased it was bipartisan; I’m pleased that three Democrats were supportive. It’s a matter of conscience, people have to do what they have to do on something like this,” he said.
“I’m confident this issue is not over and won’t be over until the administration figures out how to accommodate people’s religious views as it relates to these new mandates,” Blunt said.
I honestly don’t know what the Manchin team is thinking. I have no idea what polls they must be reading, or what strategy they think they are following. This was a radical, radical amendment, and I have no idea why Manchin would support this.