December 21st, 2009
11:06 AM ET

Morning Buzz: The late night on Capitol Hill

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

It was a late night on Capitol Hill last night. In a 60-40 vote, cast shortly after 1 a.m., the Senate ended debate on a package of controversial revisions to the $871 billion health care reform bill. The vote was a major victory for Democrats and it means that the Senate is on track to pass the bill on Christmas Eve. But it’s not over yet - if it passes, the measure will then have to be merged with a roughly $1 trillion plan passed by the House in November. Republicans ripped the majority for rushing the process and passing the measure in the middle of the night.

So what exactly is in the plan and who’s paying for it? It’s made both liberals and conservatives angry. What favors were promised to ensure the support necessary to keep the bill moving? We’re keeping them honest tonight and we’ll explain exactly what this bill means for you and how it could lead to changes in the nation’s health care system.

The Senate vote left President Barack Obama on the cusp of claiming victory on his top domestic priority and enacting the biggest expansion of federal health care guarantees since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid more than four decades ago. The President isn’t expected to make a public statement on the Senate vote but he’s scheduled to speak later today on the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government. Ironic, given what we’ve seen on the Senate floor, right?

We’re looking into recent reports that members of the U.S. military who become pregnant while serving in northern Iraq now face the possibility of a court-martial or jail time. Apparently, the rule applies to anyone who becomes pregnant or impregnates another service member. Typical protocol in the military is that when a soldier becomes pregnant she is removed from the battlefield within a couple of weeks. But this new policy takes it a step further. Why the change? What does it mean for women and men on the battlefield?

And tens of thousands of people chanted anti-government slogans today before the funeral of a top Iranian cleric who turned into one of the regime’s most vocal critics, witnesses reported. The Senior Iranian dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri died on Sunday. He was one of several prominent clerics who publicly criticized the presidential elections last June. Some believe his death is a blow to the reformist movement; he had become a prominent voice of the movement, speaking out on key foreign policy issues. So what will his death mean for the green movement in Iran? Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on the media circuit and will sit down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer today. We’ll dig deeper tonight.

What else are you following? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET!

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Michelle D. Fonthill .Ont

    Merry Christmas Eliza and 360 Team !

    This was a great victory indeed for the health care bill to be passed i hope there are no snafus for this to be passed for good especially now before Christmas people need thier care and it's gone on for so long now .

    Diane Saywer's first broadcast tonight yeah ! look forward to seeing her on World News she 'll be great .

    Thanks for the buzz

    Michelle D.

    December 21, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  2. Mark Peters

    How appropriate that we would follow a large financial crises with large legislative crises. The health care reform debate has shown how our Congressional system leads to gridlock rather than solutions for the American people. The Republicans are falling all over themselves talking about defecit spending this bill will create and how bad that will be( I happen to agree). They were very silent on that point when they had the Executive and Legislative majorities and were spending huge defecit amounts to fund something close to their interests ie...Wars and Nation Building elsewhere. The Democrats, on the other hand, are cutting back alley (bad) deals just to get anything approved. Sorry Senators, insurance reform won't be enough. As long as the cost of medical services increase at the rate they have been, insurance rates will follow them up as well.
    Health Care, education, jobs, those are the things that matter to Americans. Shame on our Government for not finding a Bi-Partisan solution Health Care for their fellow Americans. We kick the can down the road until faced with a crises.

    December 21, 2009 at 10:57 am |