The day is finally here: Olympia Snowe will have to vote one way or another on the Senate Finance Committee’s health reform bill. The Maine Republican has been coy—“It’s all about what I’m comfortable doing at the end of the day”—but that doesn’t stop Chris Frates and Mike Allen from taking a look at the immediate and far-reaching impact. A “yea” would give Max Baucus some payoff for rejiggering the bill to woo Snowe, and the Democrats the gleam of bipartisanship.
Of course, Frates and Allen write in Politico, look for Republicans to quash “any narrative that suggests a solitary GOP vote suddenly makes the bill bipartisan.” But a thumbs-down from Snowe “stings” Baucus, and “he doesn’t get the hero’s welcome, or a carrot to entice moderate Democrats.” For Snowe, who has said her committee vote could differ from her floor vote, the calculus is different: She could vote in favor of the bill to ensure a seat at the table when merging the House and Senate bills—or vote against and maintain her leverage as the only Republican who might change her mind down the road. (Read more Olympia Snowe stories.)