With little more than 24 hours left before the U.S. Senate goes forward with a test vote on its health care bill, U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd made a stop at a small manufacturing business in New Britain.
After touring Metalform Company Inc., which manufactures everything from snaps on football helmets to gun magazines, Dodd spoke briefly with reporters about Saturday’s vote.
“Oh, we’re gonna have the vote,” Dodd said. “I can’t believe Harry Reid would have set this whole thing up without having the votes.”
“I gotta believe he’s got them. He hasn’t told me that, but I’ll be down there for it,” Dodd said referring to U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Dodd, who helped usher the bill through the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during Sen. Ted Kennedy’s absence this summer, admitted Friday that the final bill wasn’t perfect.
“I’ll be the first to admit to you this thing is huge, it’s going to have problems, a lot of it probably won’t work…but doing nothing is worse in my view,” Dodd said.
While it’s no surprise Reid will have Dodd’s vote, it’s been unclear if Connecticut’s junior senator Joseph Lieberman will vote in favor of moving forward with the debate.
“Joe’s going to vote to go forward and have the debate,” Dodd said confident that Lieberman wouldn’t make good on his promise to join the Republicans in a filibuster. “Joe has a problem with the public option, but even that I think will work out in the end,” Dodd said.
“If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote,” Lieberman told Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, a few weeks ago.
The statement did not sit well with members of Lieberman’s own faith, who remained silent in 2006 when he ran as an Independent and again in 2008 when he endorsed Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain for president.
Last Sunday clergy from a number of different faith denominations gathered to pray for Lieberman outside his Stamford home. They prayed that he would allow the vote to move forward and that he would support a public option.
By Friday some of their prayers may have been answered.
“Senator Lieberman will likely vote for cloture, so that the bill will be debated,” a spokesman from Lieberman’s office wrote in an email Friday evening.
The debate is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Sixty votes in the 100-seat Senate are required to more forward with debate which means all 58 Senate Democrats and the two independents will need to vote together.