On a mostly party-line vote (with one senator, the retiring moderate Republican Olympia Snowe, of Maine), the US Senate rejected an amendment to the federal transportation bill (yes, you read that right), sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that would allow any employer to deny any health care mandate that violates their personal religious or moral beliefs. The vote was 51-48.

Although the bill was aimed at allowing employers to deny coverage for contraception, as opponents pointed out this morning, it would also allow bosses to deny coverage for immunizations, diabetes drugs for obese employees, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, treatment and testing for sexually transmitted infections, and any other treatment to which a religious employer has personal objections.

Both of Washington State's senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, spoke against the Blunt Amendment, with Murray closing debate before the floor vote.

Here's the video of Murray's speech:

Murray looks downright incredulous when she points out, "We are at a very serious time in our nation's history. Our economic is struggling. ... Millions of families get up every day and they're concerned about whether they can pay their mortgage or send their kids to college. I have to tell you, millions of women in the country did not think they would have to get u p this morning and worry about whether contraception would be available to them depending on who their employer was."

Watch the whole debate here.
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