Senate on final day of IHCIA debate
The Senate is moving towards final passage of S.1200, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. You can watch the session on C-SPAN2. Updates will be posted on top.

11:29am - Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) welcomes passage of S.1200. "To come up with a one size fits all is not possible. This bill takes care of people wherever they are," he said. The Senate is now moving onto morning business.

11:22am - Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says, "This is a good day for Indian Country." She says Alaska Natives are waking up to good news they have been waiting for nearly a decade. "We know that we need to do more," she said.

11:19am - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) calls passage a "big deal." He says the bill will help the federal government fulfill its promises to Indian Country. "We said we promised," Dorgan said.'The fact is we haven't kept those promises in a long time."

11:17am - S.1200 has passed the Senate by a vote of 83-10.

10:59am - The Senate is now voting on final passage of S.1200!

10:57am - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the majority leader, calls S.1200 a "good piece of bipartisan legislation." He says today is a "bright day" in Indian Country.

10:56am - Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also says credit is owed to former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado), the former chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee who tried to push the IHCIA through despite objections from the Bush administration.

10:55am - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) is thanking co-sponsors of S.1200 and staff of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee for their work on the bill. "It has been eight years now that we should have advanced this legislation," he said. "After eight long years we finally have it done."

10:54am - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) announces that first amendment by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) has been withdrawn without objection. Dorgan says the second amendment has been accepted into the bill by unanimous consent.

10:53am - The amendment passed by a vote of 56-38.

10:40am - The Senate is voting on the amendment by Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Oregon).

10:38am - The Senate is debating an amendment by Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Oregon) to require the Indian Health Service to develop what he calls a "fair" way to distribute facilities construction funds. "It is very unlikely that Native Americans n your state are receiving funding for health service facilities," Smith said.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) opposes the amendment. He said Smith raises an important issue but that the program will draw funds away from facilities construction.

10:36am - The amendment passed by a vote of 52-48.

10:12am - The Senate is voting on an amendment by Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) to bar the use of federal funds to perform abortions at Indian Health Service facilities except under certain circumstances.

10:05am - The Senate has resumed consideration of S.1200.

White House Document:
Statement of Administration Policy (January 22, 2008)

Relevant Links:
Indian Health Service - http://www.ihs.gov
National Indian Health Board - http://www.nihb.org

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