In response to a procedural budgetary point of order by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), the Senate vote to override it was only 58-41, short of the three-fifths majority needed to continue debate on the asbestos trust fund bill. Thus, there were early reports that the bill is dead.
Or is it? The vote was originally 59-40, but, at the last minute, Senator Frist changed his yes vote to no; only a negative vote can move to reconsider. The 100th senator, Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), was absent to tend to his sick wife, but Senator Specter says that Inouye would have been a yes vote. Specter and Leahy say the bill is not dead. (Shailagh Murray, "Senate Foes Block Proposed Trust Fund For Asbestos Victims", Washington Post, Feb. 15).