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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - Dec 22, 2009 - Majorities Still Oppose Health Bills; One Democrat Rep. Changes to a Republican

the House is in recess. However, it will have one fewer democrat when it returns. Political is reporting that Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith will announce today that he is switching to the Republican Party because of the Democrats' health care reform efforts. The announcement is not good news for the Democrats as Republicans are sure to pounce on the development as another sign that the Democratic reforms are deeply unpopular. "Griffith, who captured the seat in a close 2008 open seat contest, will become the first Republican to hold the historically Democratic, Huntsville-based district. A radiation oncologist who founded a cancer treatment center, Griffith plans to blast the Democratic health care bill as a prime reason for his decision to switch parties—and is expected to cite his medical background as his authority on the subject. While the timing of his announcement was unexpected, Griffith’s party switch will not come as a surprise to those familiar with his voting record, which is one of the most conservative among all Democrats."

The Senate reconvened at 7 AM today and resumed consideration of the Reid substitute amendment to H.R. 3590, the vehicle for Democrats’ health care reform bill. Early this morning 60 Democrats voted to approve Majority Leader Harry Reid’s 383-page manager’s amendment to the health care bill. No Republicans voted for it. After that, all 60 Democrats voted to invoke cloture on the Reid substitute amendment, again with no Republican votes.

The Senate is now working through the 30 hours of post-cloture time on the Reid amendment demanded by Republicans. The next vote will likely be at 1 PM on Wednesday, on approval of the Reid substitute amendment, as modified. That vote requires a simple majority.

The New York Times has a good rundown of the expected times of the remaining votes, leading up to a final vote on the bill Thursday evening.

As more Americans learned yesterday what Democrats did to jam their unpopular health bill through over the weekend, the more they’re expressing their distaste for both the tactics Democrats used in distributing deals to various states and the substance of the bill.

In his Washington Post column today, Dana Milbank runs through some of the most prominent deals, noting “the ‘Louisiana Purchase,’ $100 million in extra Medicaid money for the Bayou State, requested by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.),” “the ‘Cornhusker Kickback,’ another $100 million in extra Medicaid money, this time for Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.),” and “that Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) had written into the legislation $100 million meant for a medical center in his state. This one was quickly dubbed the ‘U Con.’” Milbank continues, “Indeed, the proliferation of deals has outpaced the ability of Capitol Hill cynics to name them. Gator Aid: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) inserted a grandfather clause that would allow Floridians to preserve their pricey Medicare Advantage program. . . . Iowa Pork and Omaha Prime Cuts: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) won more Medicare money for low-volume hospitals of the sort commonly found in Iowa, while Nebraska's Nelson won a ‘carve out’ provision that would reduce fees for Mutual of Omaha and other Nebraska insurers.” And he goes on to name more and more.

The Denver Post editors have seen enough. In an editorial that simultaneously reiterates support for a “public option,” they write, “We call on Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet to take a principled stand against the travesty the Senate legislation has become. We do so because the deal-making and the concessions made to reach 60 votes have created a bill so poisonous to the stated ideals of both senators that they should be unable to attach their good names to its passage when it comes up for a scheduled vote on Christmas Eve.”

But the American people seem to be the most appalled by this bill and the process through which Democrats collected 60 votes. The Omaha World-Herald writes today, “The phone lines were jammed and busy signals greeted callers to Sen. Ben Nelson's offices today in Washington and throughout Nebraska. Constituents were letting the Nebraska Democrat know what they thought of his decision to back the health reform package on the verge of passing the U.S. Senate. . . . The Democrat was also at the center of attention at a rally in downtown Omaha on Sunday that drew about 1,800 people. And much of the attention was unfavorable, as opponents of the health care legislation in Congress expressed outrage with his decision to cast the crucial 60th vote in favor of the bill.”

And there are two new polls, both showing, just as polls have for weeks now, that majorities disapprove of the Democrats’ health care bills and President Obama’s handling of the issue. A Quinnipiac poll today finds 53% disapprove of the plans and 56% disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care. “Voters also oppose 72% - 23% using any public money in the health care overhaul to pay for abortions,” Quinnipiac writes. Further, “By 73% - 18%, voters don't believe President Obama will be able to keep his promise to overhaul health care without increasing the federal deficit and by 56% - 37% they don't want the overhaul if it will increase the deficit.”

Meanwhile, a CNN poll, which Democrats are bragging about, amazingly, finds 56% oppose the Democrats’ health care bills. CNN notes, “[L]ess than 1 in 4 think the bill will make their own health care coverage better, 15 points lower than the 37 percent who say their health care will get worse if the bill becomes law. Nearly 4 in 10 say there will be no change in their or their immediate family's coverage.”

Clearly, Americans don’t like these proposals. Many share the disgust of pundits and Washington watchers at the process Senate Democrats have gone through to get 60 votes for their monstrosity of a bill. However, despite the votes cast this morning, there is still one more cloture vote, coming sometime tomorrow. What Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said just after midnight on Monday still applies: “Can all of these Americans be wrong? Don’t their concerns count? Party loyalty can be a powerful force. We all know that. But Americans are asking Democrats to put party loyalty aside tonight — to put the interests of small business owners, taxpayers, and seniors first And there’s good news — it’s not too late All it takes is one. Just one. One can stop it — or every one will own it.”
Tags: Government-Run Health Care, Parker Griffith, polls, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:05 PM - Post Link

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