Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), a lifelong Republican announced he was switching his affiliation to the Democratic Party. Specter cited the recent stimulus vote as creating a “schism” in his party that created “irreconcilable” differences that forced him to leave the GOP’s big tent.
While Specter insisted he will not vote party line, the move does put Senate Democrats within one vote of a filibuster-proof majority. If Democrat Al Franken wins his still-contested bid for one of Minnesota’s Senate seats, that majority would be achieved.
“The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation,” Specter said in a public statement. “And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation. I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.”
In any case, the move creates a political environment that could help the industry advance its agendas in coming months.
On March 11, Sepcter sent a letter to HHS asking Acting Secretary Charles Johnson to rescind CMS’s interim final rule to reinstate NCB and start rebidding round one. Specter also is slated provide the June 3 keynote address at June 1-3 AAHomecare’s Washington Legislative Conference. The keynote will be delivered right before attendees leave to lobby on Capitol Hill.