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Senate resumes debate on IHCIA

The Senate has resumed debate on S.1200, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. You can watch the session on C-SPAN2. Updates will be posted on top.

7:35pm - The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow at 10am.

7:29pm - Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) is talking about a tribal justice amendment that was adopted by unanimous consent. His provision directs the Government Accountability Office to complete a study of the tribal justice systems in North Dakota and South Dakota.

7:27pm - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) described tomorrow's schedule. He left the floor and said Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) can speak about S.1200.

7:23pm - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the majority leader, has moved on to another bill. It looks like everything is lined up for tomorrow.

7:19pm - Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) is talking about pending amendments. He said he will support the Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) amendment.

7:02pm - Quorum call.

6:57pm - Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) is talking about the Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) amendment that will be put to a vote tomorrow. It would prohibit the use of Indian Health Service funds for abortions except under certain conditions.

6:55pm - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) says the vote sequence for tomorrow will be as follows: an amendment by Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), the Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Oregon) amendment, two Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) amendment and then final passage.

6:37pm - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) said he expects a final vote tomorrow around mid-day. He said it will be a "very happy occasion" when the bill passes.

6:35pm - Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says she supports the amendment.

6:33pm - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) says he can't support the amendment.

6:24pm - Although Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) said there will be no more votes, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Oregon) is talking about his amendment to create a health care facilities demonstration program. He says tribes in Oregon have never received fund to build an Indian Health Service facility.

6:15pm - With the withdrawal of the second amendment, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) said Senate consideration of S.1200 is finished for now. "There will be no further votes tonight," he said.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the majority leader, said he will consult with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the minority leader, to determine at what time debate will resume tomorrow morning. Dorgan said he expected it would start at 10am.

6:14pm - Quorum call.

6:12pm - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) made a motion for the second amendment offered by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) to be withdrawn. The motion was agreed to without objection.

6:12pm - The amendment on firearms passed by 78-11.

5:58pm - Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) briefly talked about his amendment to block the use of federal funds for certain firearms programs. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) said he had no objection to it. A vote is being called.

5:55pm - The motion to cloture passed by 85-2.

5:30pm - Consideration of the motion to invoke cloture is beginning. Sixty votes are needed to approve the substitute amendment that Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have brought to the floor.

5:30pm - Housekeeping: In the January 23 liveblog of the Senate debate on IHCIA, we mixed up the health care stories of two Indian women. As described by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), Ardel Hale Baker suffered a heart attack and had a letter taped to her leg by Indian Health Service staff about the lack of funds to pay for her treatment. It was a different woman who was told to wrap her knee in cabbage leaves, not Hale Baker.

5:20pm - Quorum call.

5:13pm - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) describes the vote sequence. First will be the cloture vote on the substitute amendment to S.1200 that he and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) brought to the floor. Then the Senate will debate and vote on two amendments offered by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina).

"This is a piece of legislation that I think is going to make a difference in the lives of Americans who have expected and been promised good health care," said Dorgan, the chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

5:11pm - Absence of a quorum.

5:10pm - "It's long time that we give our Indian health providers the tools that they need in their quest for excellence," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). She said she anticipates final passage of the bill. "Passage of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act is long overdue."

5:02pm - Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the vice chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, is talking about successful Alaska Native health care programs.

5:00pm - Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), the top Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, says all of his concerns about the bill have been resolved. "It's past due," he said of the IHCIA. "This piece of legislation needs to pass. It needs to pass now."

Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments:
S.1200 | H.R.1328

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

Relevant Links:
Indian Health Service -
National Indian Health Board -