WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this afternoon after the Senate passed the “Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act” by a veto-proof margin of 69 to 30. The House overwhelmingly passed the same bill by a vote of 355 to 59 on June 24:
“The Senate’s passage of this important legislation today is yet another example of what can happen when enough Republicans put the needs of their constituents before their party and join Democrats in making progress for the American people.
“I urge President Bush – who has threatened to veto this legislation – to drop his ill-advised threats and to sign this bill, which has the support of the overwhelming number of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate. The President now has a clear choice: Will he continue to be a roadblock to progress? Or, will he stand with our nation’s seniors, providers and the military families who are being held hostage to the looming cuts in Medicare?
“It is truly inspirational that Senator Kennedy, who is battling a brain tumor, interrupted his medical treatment to cast the deciding vote on this critical bill – which then provoked several Republicans to reconsider their earlier opposition to this bill and to vote for it. In contrast, there is no small irony in the fact that the only Senator who failed to vote was Senator McCain, who was on the campaign trail. In the interests of straight talk, he needs to explain his absence.”