December 22nd, 2009
07:42 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Tracking the Cash on Capitol Hill

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/12/22/health.care.senate.vote/story.senate.floor.pool.jpg caption="Senators gather in the Capitol early Tuesday for a vote related to the health care overhaul bill." width=300 height=169]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Mark your calendar. The vote for final passage of the Senate health care reform plan is now set for Christmas Eve morning.

Republicans aren't happy with the timetable.

Sen. Tom Corburn, who is also a physician, said tonight on CNN the reason we've seen these "crazy votes" is because Democrats want the bill passed before Christmas for political reasons, to say they got it done - "not because it's in the best long-term interest in doing the best right thing for America."

Do you agree? Share your thoughts below.

Tonight, we're tracking how lobbyists are playing a big part in the battle for health care reform.

According to the non- partisan Center for Responsive Politics, there are more than 3,000 lobbyists working on the health care issue versus 535 members of Congress.

The CRC reports over the past two years, lobbyists have spent $635 million shaping health care policy. That works out to be $870,000 a day.

Tonight, we'll show you which organizations are spending the most dollars lobbying Congress.

We'll also break down what the Senate version would cost you and your family.

There's also the surprising holiday twist to the debate. Sen. Roland Burris (D-Illinois) decided to take the drama to a new level by reciting his own version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' on the Senate floor. We'll play you the tape. We also have a GOP version for you with a little help from our floor crew. You'll want to stay up to see the wild mix of raw politics and holiday cheer.

We're also tracking new developments in the custody battle over a 9-year-old New Jersey boy. Just hours ago, Brazil's chief justice ruled that Sean Goldman should be reunited with his father. The boy was taken by his mother to Brazil five years ago. She remarried and died last year in childbirth. Tonight, in a 360° exclusive interview, you'll hear from Sean's grandfather in the U.S. Hear why he's still worried about the fate of Sean.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET on CNN. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. A. Smith, Oregon

    Big Pharma pours hundreds of millions of dollars into the promotion of its 'legal' drugs. And why not, a single well used drug can bring in One Billion dollars per year and many large pharmaceutic corporations have several well selling hyper-expensive 'legal' drugs they sell.

    Big Pharma pours money into the willing pockets of the American Medical Associated Doctors, wineing, dining them, each and everyday and the same for their Republican lawmakers.

    The clear unequivocal losers are the American people. Seniors on little or fixed incomes that are often unable to pay the enormous costs for their 'legal' drugs each month that their Western Doctor tells them they must have or they'll die.

    December 23, 2009 at 3:19 am |
  2. Tim ONeill

    Proud to be a Big Red CornHusker. Ashamed of Senater Johanns and 39 other Senators. Never before in our short history have we seen such a divide. how much further can the Republican party be destroryed by themselves. The Republican Party better wake upbefore they become extinct. Not unbelievable just look at the Presidential Election in Nebraska a Big Red State That went part Blue in 2008, first time ever in this Repbulican State. I urge all 40 Senaters to vote in favor of Health Care Reform or become giant political dinosaurs.

    December 23, 2009 at 2:43 am |
  3. J.V.Hodgson

    When the founding fathers wrote the right to petition in the constitution I believe they were specifically thinking in terms of an individual right, and possibly within an individual state of a group of like minded individuals gathering together to petition thier state representatives.
    I do not believe they intended to give inanimate corporate entities the same right as an individualor intended for Federal organisations across states say for or against gay marriage or for against abortion to be federally empowered thru lobbying at the national level and certainly ruled out the church ( any religion) from trying to influence congress persons!
    If the various Pharma companies etc equipment manifacturers spent thier lobbying money on research they wouldn't need to be so opposed to importing cheaper medication options!!
    Then some republican senator I believe has the gall to suggest he must morally attend to family over Xmas so lets vote this early 24th so we can have Xmas with family, but I must vote against this bill even though its fundamental moral core is to insure 31m Americans that do not or cannot afford medical insurance. Shame on him and his colleagues, tell us what you want that is deficit negative and meets appropriately the core objective of at least 31m preferably 47m Uninsured Americans becoming Insured and stop just being the party of NO!! to this and everything.
    That is ideology gone MAD, which if you remember = mutually assured destruction!!

    December 23, 2009 at 2:08 am |
  4. Diana

    It is my understanding that the majority of "We the People of the United States" do not want our personal lives to be controlled by our government witih Health Insurance. We hear more about what it is going to cost us instead of what the real agenda is. Why aren't the American people being told how they will face fines and suffer jail sentences if they do not have Health Insurance. How the government can use our personal information about our health as a form of control as to whether we are granted treatment or not. Especially for the elderly. There is more.........please report on the real agenda. I vote "NO" for government control on Health Insurance.

    December 23, 2009 at 1:52 am |
  5. susan

    Please let someone read the bill before it is voted on? I am soooo concerned about the unknown's. No one seems to know what all is in the bill. Also, when you looked at the costs per family based on the various income levels it looks expensive for everyone.

    December 23, 2009 at 1:18 am |
  6. Richard

    Sen. Nelson held his vote hostage, by blackmailing the senate and the rest of the country to get Money for his state.

    December 23, 2009 at 12:25 am |
  7. drew

    i think it is outstanding that mr goldmans is going to be able to get his son back

    December 22, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  8. Cary

    Even in the super left wing State of Oregon, Pres.Obama and the democrates are causing extreme red faces and anger.. Stop the spending, secret deals and health bill disaster. Please..........

    December 22, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  9. tommy2

    I have to be honest. When our government mandates health insurance and turns that business over to private insurers with few restrictions on rates, I get nervous. When the president has to cut deals with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that guarantee their markets and dominancy, I get nervous. When the president has to cut private deals with more than twenty-nine democratic senators for more than $1.5 Billion and counting in incentives to vote for the healthcare bill, I get nervous. When our government has to make a deal with the AMA to eliminate a 5% tax on cosmetic surgery to solicit their support, I get nervous. When the healthcare bill grows from 1700 pages to 2700 pages just to accommodate all the incentives and deals negotiated, I get nervous. There have been backroom deals in Congress since the beginning, but this is so far and away the biggest most vast and egregious, it leaves one breathless. Are our rights and the people we elect just items for sale?

    December 22, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  10. Louis Teitelbaum

    aarp is the biggest spender on health care lobbying they spent 46,000,000 as stated on cnn earlier today
    AARP membership cost $16 so people need to do the math and realize AARP is a puppet of the insurance companies receiving hundreds of millions for pimping United Health care and other insurance. They represent only the profit margin of greedy large insurance conpanies. Please help everyone realize AARP does not represent the elderly it only represents United health care cornies like Former CEO maguire who raped the health care system to collect his 1.8 Billion CEO pay as head of united healthcare.

    Wont anybody stand up for what is the truth.

    December 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  11. Jose

    Show me the "reform" in this bill? It is just tax increases and service cuts. Nothing reformative.

    December 22, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    I'm really glad Mr. Goldman is getting his son back and will be able to bring him home for Christmas. I hope it works out well for Sean as well as the rest of his family.

    Looking forward to both versions of the Night before Christmas – hopefully they are funny. I'm not real comfortable with the voting on the health care being so early in the morning or late at night when most people would be asleep – feels like they are trying to sneak something by on us.

    December 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm |