Health-Care Fight Gets Personal

Politicians aren’t known for getting along, but in the heart of the holiday season, Senate members are accusing each other of bribery and double-crosses, routinely cutting each other off while speaking on the floor, and engaging in a legislative arms fight that could drag out to a Christmas Eve vote. This divided Senate, which is gathering for a Monday 1 a.m. test vote on health-care legislation, is stewing in a “toxic atmosphere,” according to The New York Times. Republicans say they intend to stage a series of procedural showdowns that will delay the final vote until Christmas Eve, and infighting Democrats can’t afford for a single member to be absent for any vote. “What the American people should pray for is that somebody can’t make the vote,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said on the floor, which Democrats took to mean he was wishing misfortune on them. Other senators have accused Democrats of using a “pay-to-play” approach to votes. “This body prides itself on being the world’s greatest deliberative body,” said Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA). “That designation has been destroyed with what has occurred here the past few days.”