BREAKING: Snowe to vote 'yes' on Finance Committee healthcare bill
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said Tuesday she would vote to approve the healthcare bill before the Senate Finance Committee.

Snowe joined the committee's Democrats to vote in favor of Chairman Max Baucus's (D-Mont.) health reform proposal, characterizing her vote as a move to support moving forward with landmark healthcare reform.

"The mark before us today produces bipartisan, landmark reforms," said Snowe. "The consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of moving a healthcare reform bill.

"I happen to think the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of Congress," she added.  "There are many, many miles to go in this legislative journey ... At the same time, they want us to continue."

Snowe was being watched closely for how she would vote on the bill in the committee after being courted aggressively by the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress. She had also come under pressure, though, from GOP leadership, who had threatened repercussions in her committee standing if she sided with Democrats on the health proposal.

The Maine centrist maintained in her remarks that she remains opposed to a public (or "government-run") option in health reform, an element absent within the Finance bill but which serves as a centerpiece of the health bill reported out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom line Voters need to feel the benefit, not just hear the message Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama MORE (D-Nev.) will be charged with merging the two bills in the coming days and weeks, and Snowe insisted her support is conditional, based on changes that could be made as the Senate Democratic leadership moves the bill forward and it is amended on the Senate floor.

"My vote today doesn't forecast what my vote will be tomorrow," Snowe said.

Snowe's decision visibly pleased Baucus, who has been working hard over the past months to garner some Republican support for his health proposal.