Sunday, November 22, 2009

Only The Beginning

By Sarah O’Connor

President Barack Obama’s mission to reform US healthcare vaulted another legislative hurdle over the weekend, but the scramble to secure his own party’s votes sheds light on the messy compromises that may be needed to get it to the finish line.

Fissures between liberal and centrist Democrats cracked open on Sunday in the aftermath of a procedural vote, which paved the way for the estimated $848bn (€570bn, £514bn) draft Senate bill to be debated on the floor.

Leaders hope there will be a vote on the bill by Christmas. If passed, the House and Senate versions will have to be mashed together.

If this weekend is anything to go by, it will not be a pretty process. All Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents voted to push the bill forward – creating a filibuster-proof majority of 60 – but some of those votes came far from quietly. A group of centrist Democrats, unhappy about elements of the bill such as a public insurance option, managed to wring concessions from the leadership in return for their acquiescence.

In what wags have already dubbed the “Louisiana Purchase”, Mary Landrieu was offered at least $100m in extra federal money for her state. Ben Nelson won the omission of a provision that would strip health insurers of their anti-trust exemption. Blanche Lincoln won more time.

The group’s disproportionate power in the debate has antagonised some liberal Democrats. “In the end, I don’t want four Democratic senators dictating to the other 56 of us and to the country, when the public option has this much support, that it’s not going to be in it,” said Sherrod Brown of Ohio on Sunday on CNN.

“But in the end, I think that all four of our colleagues surveyed this . . . and I don’t think they want to be on the wrong side of history. I don’t think they want to go back and say, ‘You know, on a procedural vote, I killed the most important bill in my political career’.”

As the debate gets going, the centrists will face increased pressure at home, where they are vulnerable to losing their seats if they are seen to let their colleagues in Washington push them too far to the left. Lobbyists on both sides of the debate are well aware of this, and are blitzing their home states with adverts.

Ms Lincoln claimed that groups had spent $3.3m on advertising in her state of Arkansas. She said she would refuse to yield to either side, but was shocked by the “unbelievable type of threats” she had received.

“These ad groups seem to think this is all about my re-election. I simply think they don’t know me very well,” she said on the Senate floor.

The group, which also includes independent senator Joe Lieberman, all said they wanted more changes made to the bill in the coming weeks.
“When I saw the bill I said, ‘This can be amended, this can be improved’,” Mr Nelson said on Sunday on ABC. He said language on federal funding for abortion, which is softer than that of the House bill, was one problem. He did signal he was willing to compromise on a public option, but said it would have to be much weaker than the current version, which has already been watered down to allow states to opt out.

“We could negotiate a public option of some sort that I might look at, but I don’t want a big government, Washington-run operation that would undermine the . . . private insurance that 200m Americans now have,” he said.

Mr Lieberman, though, was more intransigent.

“[A public option] is a radical departure from the way we’ve responded to the market in America in the past,” he told NBC. “We rely first on competition in our market economy. When the competition fails then what do we do? We regulate or we litigate.”

The weekend’s vote was a victory for Harry Reid, Senate leader, but he acknowledged that it was simply an opening skirmish in a battle that is now set to break into full force. Much of that battle will take place within his own party.

“Tonight’s vote is not the end of the debate,” he said on Saturday night. “It is only the beginning.”

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Saturday Night...

Call Your Senators!

Under the cloak of another Saturday night the US Senate plans to vote on whether or not to continue debate on their health care bill - 8pm to be exact.

They really DON'T want to hear from you, but since you'll be paying for the vote they take tomorrow night I would urge you to call and write them incessantly with the message "NO on cloture".

A successful cloture motion would allow them to proceed to debate. Now consider this, since 1999 the Senate has approved and passed 97.6% of all bills when lawmakers voted in favor of the motion to proceed to debate.

Cloture is the very best place to stop this insidious bill. Call every number they have....and don't forget the incessant part.

Maria Cantwell - 1-888-648-7328
For her local office numbers
click here)

Patty Murray - 1-866-481-9186
For her local office numbers
click here)

10 THINGS ...

Here are ten things10 you should know about Harry Reid's government-run health care experiment :

1. $493 Billion In Tax Increases On Health Insurance, Medical Innovation, Payroll And Small Businesses Would Pay For The Bill. (Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Senator Harry Reid, 11/18/09)

2. Americans Won't See Benefits Of This Health Care Experiment Until 2014, But They Start Paying For It In 2010.(Page 13, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Senator Harry Reid, 11/18/09)

3. Reid's Bill Allegedly Reduces The Deficit By $130 Billion In Ten Years, But The Obama-Reid-Pelosi Spending Agenda Produced Deficit Of $176 Billion Last Month Alone.(Table 3, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Senator Harry Reid, 11/18/09)

4. $465 Billion In Medicare And Medicaid Cuts Would Pay For Two New Unsustainable Entitlements.(Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Senator Harry Reid, 11/18/09)

5. Health Care Costs For The Federal Government - And Your Family - Would Increase, Not Decrease. (Page 16, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Senator Harry Reid, 11/18/09)

6. A New Medicare Commission Of Unelected Bureaucrats Would Ration Care.(Sec. 3403, H.R. 3590, Amendment In The Nature Of A Substitute, "Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act," Introduced 11/18/09)

7. The "Doc Fix" Provision That Would Add $250 Billion To The Deficit Is Not Included In The Democrats' List Price For Their Health Care Experiment.(Page 17, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Senator Harry Reid, 11/18/09)

8. Taxpayer Dollars Would Fund Abortions.(Sec. 1303(a), H.R. 3590, Amendment In The Nature Of A Substitute, "Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act," Introduced 11/18/09)

9. A New Entitlement Program For Long-Term Care That One Democrat Senator Called "A Ponzi Scheme" Would Be Created.(Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Senator Harry Reid, 11/18/09; Shailagh Murray & Lori Montgomery, "Centrists Unsure About Reid's Public Option," The Washington Post, 10/28/09)

10. States Burdened With $25 Billion In Unfunded Mandates From Medicaid That Would Force Them To Increase Taxes.(Page 7, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Senator Harry Reid, 11/18/09)

View This Research Briefing At

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pay....or Pay

Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail.

The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

In response to the JCT letter, Camp said: “This is the ultimate example of the Democrats’ command-and-control style of governing – buy what we tell you or go to jail.

This is outrageous and should be stopped immediately.”

Press Release by Ways & Means Republicans

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Look at the Side by Side

Sometimes a picture speaks louder than words, so here it is - a side by side picture of Pelosi Health Care Bill and the GOP Alternative. What do you want - more freedom or more government?

Keep calling (numbers in previous post) and if the line is busy send an e-mail while you wait. Google your Rep and get on it!

And let's all call Pelosi now
(202) 225-0100 and (415)556.4862
and give her a little freedom loving patriot love too!

Right Now!

Right now in Washington DC American citizens, led by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) are giving voice to the millions of us who oppose the Democrat takeover of our healthcare.

We can't be there but we can add our voice to support them!

Right both our Senators and your Representative with your strong message opposing the Democrat takeover of healthcare.

Maria Cantwell - (202) 224-3441
Patty Murray - (202) 224-2621

Your Representative:
1st District: Jay Inslee - (202) 225–6311
2nd District: Rick Larsen - (202) 225-2605
3rd District: Brian Baird - (202) 225-3536
4th District: Doc Hastings - (202) 225-5816
5th District: Cathy McMorris Rodgers - (202) 225-2006
6th District: Norm Dicks - (202) 225-5916
7th District: Jim McDermott - (202) 225-3106
8th District: Dave Reichert - (202) 225-7761
9th District: Adam Smith - (202) 225-8901

Press Release:

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann released the following statement as the House of Representatives approaches a vote on the Democrats’ health care reform proposal:

“The American people spoke loud and clear at town hall meetings all across the country throughout August. But, it would appear that Congress didn’t hear a word they had to say. The Democrats’ latest health care proposal unveiled late last week may be packaged a little differently, but it’s the same old bad bill as before.

“This bill is a trillion-dollar, budget-busting, government takeover of our health care system. It will put bureaucrats between people and their health care. It will lead to rationed care, hurting the most vulnerable amongst us first. It will break the bank, leaving our children to pay the bill with diminished freedoms and dwindling prosperity.

“The American people need to stand up again and make sure that Congress hears them this time. Speaker Pelosi is putting her bill on fast track to a vote – and it remains to be seen if the House will even get a chance to vote on the commonsense Republican alternatives. The people need to make a House Call on Washington this week and tell their Representatives to vote no to a government take-over of one-fifth of our economy. This is gangster government at its worst.

“I urge all Americans to come to Washington this Thursday. Come and meet up with your Representative and tell them that you want to control your health care.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

America's Message: Too Far Too Fast!

What Today’s Election Means
November 3rd, 2009
by Saul Anuzis

In my opinion…

The real question and really the only question is does Obama’s aggressive liberal agenda get clipped because moderate Democrats get a real taste of how main street America is not only reacting in polls…but at the polls.

In MI we will pick up State Senate seat that has been held by Democrat Mark Schauer since 2002 until his election last year to the US Congress!
That’s bodes well for MIGOP in the upcoming reapportionment battle and for the potential GOP challenger to Schauer in 2010.

VA is still a win…it’s just that polling shows us it going to be a win, so some are trying to minimize the impact.

NJ is huge…win or close, this spells trouble for the Democrats.

NY is more symbolic and important for the conservative base in our party.
Winning as a conservative vs Republican will have a great impact within the party, more than in DC.

Conservatives can win when they emphasize the right things and don’t allow their message to get co-opted. The Democrats & some of their friends in the media attempt to paint all conservatives as fire breathing cavemen.

But Dede Scozzafava was drubbed, not for being a “moderate” Republican, but for not being a Republican at all. McDonnell was an example on how to do it right.

To some extent American voters like checks & balances – they don’t like one party control – and one party dominance even less. This reflects on Obama’s agenda, Congressional Democrats aggressiveness and the apparent “out of touch” and low approval ratings of Congress in general.

Voters are trying to send the White House and Democrats a message that they’re going too far, too fast, for too many special interests, and if they don’t get the message from tonight, voters will have to send them a louder message in 1 year.