In Senate Health Care Vote, Women Hold the Cards

RedTracker| Politico reports that the fate of tomorrow’s senate vote rests on the shoulders of a pair of Southern moderates, senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. As of this evening, Landrieu says that she’s “leaning towards” voting to start debate on the health care bill.Lincoln hasn’t decided, as the clock is ticking down.

Sen. Ben Nelson, Lincoln’s counterpart (D-Neb.), announced he would vote yes on going ahead with debate, even though he is calling for significant amendments to the bill on the floor.

Bloomberg News reports that Landrieu this afternoon won the inclusion of an extra $100 million in federal aid for low-income people in her state.

The Louisiana money is intended to adjust the percentage of federal payments to the state for Medicaid to avert a scheduled cut in U.S. assistance in 2011 for the program, which provides medical care for the poor. Louisiana had a bump in per capita income from the post-Katrina construction boom, which would force the decline in federal aid. via Bloomberg News

On the eve of the vote, Reid’s plan came under fire from Republicans and the Catholic Church, as one official from the U.S. Conference Catholic of Catholic Bishops told the Associated Press it “the worst bill we’ve seen so far on the life issues.” via Politico

It’s not expected that Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins will vote yes. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping to get support later in the process from the two women senators.