Forget the federal health care law itself. The Pennsylvania Senate spent nearly half an hour this afternoon debating whether it was OK to call the law "Obamcare" on the chamber floor.
Senators were happily debating a proposed Constitutional amendment to bar any law requiring Pennsylvanians to have health insurance when President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati uttered the word "Obamacare."
That drew objection from Sen. Anthony Williams, a Philadelphia Democrat, who said the term was inappropriately partisan.
"To my knowledge there is no piece of federal legislation, or any legislation, that denotes something called 'Obamacare,' " he said. "What is does do is characterize a particular partisan perspective of policy that is actually law in this country."
He asked Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who presides over the Senate, to strike all references to "Obamacare."
But then Sen. Dominic Pileggi, the Republican leader, stood and pointed to a report by the Associated Press that the president's reelection campaign has embraced the term. He noted that the law, officially called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has "a long and awkward name."
Cawley, a Republican, tried to end the debate by proposing senators refer to the law as the "federal health care initiative," but that did not go over. He then ruled against the request to strike references to "Obamacare.
Williams appealed, but the Senate voted 30-18 to stick with Cawley's ruling.