This morning, the Senate Health Committee passed its bill on a straight-party line vote. I hear it’s a pretty good plan, although I’d be surprised if it was as strong as the plan the House just passed.

The White House is calling it a bipartisan bill–not because Republicans voted for it. They didn’t. They’re calling it “bipartisan” because it contains Republican ideas. That matters, because they’re signalling to possible GOP moderates that they are not going to water down the final bill to win a few Repub votes.

Yay! Finally, some hopeful news.

And for bonus grins, ultra-conservative Republican senator Tom Coburn added an amendment to the bill requiring Congress to get their health care from the public plan. Rather than kill the amendment, Sens. Edward Kennedy (who voted by proxy) and Chris Dodd, both Democrats, called their bluff and voted for it.

Now, it seems pretty unlikely that the amendment would survive all the way to the final version of the law, but Kennedy likes the public plan, and really, why shouldn’t our elected leaders have a personal stake in public programs?