What to Make of Feingold's Nay on the Women's Health Care Amendment

Earlier today, the Senate passed an amendment to its health care bill that would ensure insurance companies provide women an extensive package of preventive services. The vote for the clause, introduced by Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), was 61-39.

The New York Times wrote that it passed "with three Republicans joining 56 Democrats and the two independents in favor" -- so the first thing I thought was, "If even two GOP senators voted for it, who the hell were the two Dems that nayed it?"

Considering his threat to introduce a "Stupak-like amendment," pro-lifer Ben Nelson (D-NE), was the first name that came to mind. And I was right. The second, however, was a little puzzling -- Russ Feingold (D-WI). According to OpenCongress, Nelson is one of the senators Feingold votes with least often.

It's not as easy for me to gloss over Feingold's votes as those of most of his colleagues, because he does strike as me as one of the more reasonable members of the Senate. After all, he was among the few that voted against the war in Iraq and the only one to vote against the PATRIOT Act, the legislative antonym of civil liberties.

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