Sunday, November 22, 2009

Democrats Defeat GOP Filibuster on Health Care Debate

This is no surprise, but it is still a relief.  The future of the measure is by no means assured, given several of the reactions on both sides of the aisle.

health_care_debate The Senate voted on Saturday to begin full debate on major health care legislation, propelling President Obama’s top domestic initiative over a crucial, preliminary hurdle in a formidable display of muscle-flexing by the Democratic majority. “Tonight we have the opportunity, the historic opportunity to reform health care once and for all,” said Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and a chief architect of the legislation. “History is knocking on the door. Let’s open it. Let’s begin the debate.”

The 60-to-39 vote, along party lines, clears the way for weeks of rowdy floor proceedings that will begin after Thanksgiving and last through much of December… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

On the left, Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is keeping his options open, fearing further dilution of the bill by the GOP.

BernieSanders Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement on Nov. 21, 2009, after the Senate 60-39 vote to begin debate on a health care reform bill:

"I voted to proceed on health care reform because our current health care system is disintegrating and must be reformed. Forty-six million Americans are uninsured, and 45,000 die every year because they don't have access to a doctor. We have almost one million Americans going bankrupt because of medically-related diseases, health care costs are soaring and we end up spending almost twice as much per person on health care as any other nation. It is clear that we need real health care reform.

"While I voted to proceed to the health care legislation tonight, I have made it clear to the administration and Democratic leadership that my vote for the final bill is by no means guaranteed… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <TPM>

The most absurd complaint against the bill was a bold faced lie coming from Traitor Joe LIEberman.

Lieberman_puppet_SM Joe Lieberman is accusing President Obama of executing a bait and switch when it comes to the public option:

"It’s classic politics of our time that if you look at the campaign last year, presidential, you can’t find a mention of public option," Lieberman said. "It was added after the election as a part of what we normally consider health insurance reform — insurance market reforms, cover people, cover people who are not covered.

Nice line, Joe, except it's based on a flat-out lie. President Obama backed the public option during the campaign. For example, the Obama-Biden health care plan proposed a new public plan (emphasis added):

   NEW AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS. The Obama-Biden plan will create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help individuals purchase new affordable health care options if they are uninsured or want new health insurance. Through the Exchange, any American will have the opportunity to enroll in the new public plan or an approved private plan, and income-based sliding scale tax credits will be provided for people and families who need it. Insurers would have to issue every applicant a policy and charge fair and stable premiums that will not depend upon health status. The Exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and meet the same standards for quality and efficiency. ...

   The Obama-Biden plan provides new affordable health insurance options by...requiring all large employers to contribute towards health coverage for their employees or towards the cost of the public plan.

In May, 2007, the New York Times reported that President Obama had proposed a public option (emphasis added):

   Mr. Obama would create a public plan for individuals who cannot obtain group coverage through their employers or the existing government programs ... He would also create a National Health Insurance Exchange, a regulated marketplace of competing private health plans intended to give individuals other, more affordable options for coverage. The public plan would compete in that Insurance Exchange, advisers said.

And here's a Washington Post candidate profile, President Obama said:

My plan builds on and improves our current insurance system, which most Americans continue to rely upon, and creates a new public health plan for those currently without coverage.

So, Joe, you're wrong. President Obama has supported a public option from the very beginning… [emphasis original]

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

LIEberman is full of crap, but he may have come up with a good idea: bait and switch.  Immediately, President Obama and all Senate Democrats should start speaking out against health care reform and promising to vote against it  As the GOP runs amok in their desperate attempts to pass the bill, our people vote for it too.

Speaking of the GOP Regime, McConJob and Hatch were true to form:

GOP2 ...Most hysterical was Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who referred to the bill’s accounting -- signed off on by a very conservative Congressional Budget Office -- as a criminal Ponzi scheme.

I think Bernie Madoff went to jail for this kind of behavior,” McCain said. Was he suggesting that CBO Douglas Elmendorf should be sent to the slammer? Or Harry Reid.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who, earlier this week, promised a “holy war” over the bill, today embarked on his jihad, which sounded a lot like the talking points advanced at Tea Party rallies by the astroturfing groups FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.

“I hope they’re not trying to take us to socialism,” Hatch said... [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alternet>

Virtually all the Repuglicans whined about how much money this bill will cost, despite the CBO analysis that it will save millions of dollars.

Here are four more GOP quotes you may find interesting.

GOPgreedy1.  This bill opens the door and invites the entrance into the political field of a power so vast, so powerful as to threaten the integrity of our institutions and to pull the pillars of the temple down upon the heads of our descendants.

2. Never in the history of the world has any measure been brought here so insidiously designed as to prevent business recovery, to enslave workers and to prevent any possibility of the employers providing work for the people.

3. ...we cannot stand idly by now, as the Nation is urged to embark on an ill-conceived adventure in government medicine, the end of which no one can see, and from which the patient is certain to be the ultimate sufferer.

4. We are going on the assumption that this is not socialized medicine. Let me tell you here and now it is socialized medicine.

Don’t these quotes sound all too familiar?  If you don’t remember these exact quotes in yesterday’s debate, there’s a reason for that.  I found them at Democratic Underground.  The first two are by Rep. James W. Wadsworth (R-NY) and Rep. John Taber (R-NY), spoken in 1935, to express GOP opposition to Social Security.  The second two are by Rep. Durward Hall (R-MO) and Rep. James Utt (R-CA), spoken on 4/8/1965 to express GOP opposition to Medicare.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Distributorcap said...

the division on this is not surprising - the fact that it hasnt passed already is - this should have been a no brainer - with 60 votes and a strong backing from the US population - it should have happened.

but it goes to show how weak congress is, and sadly (to me) how detached obama is - for something that was the cornerstone of his campaign, the way he has handled the entire HCR process has been at best puzzling, at worst awful.

we should finally give up the notion of bipartisanship - that is THROUGH forever in this country, in any shape or form. the fact that the GOP didnt even want to debate on this is amazing in itself -

call me the pessimist - i still believe we are going to get a crappy bill that will make things worse just so harry reid and obama can say how they got something done.

the walking man said...

I will wait for the final bill before I decide but I think in just about every thing Distributor Cap said is pretty much the current situation shaping up.

I do believe though that it is time for Reid to do some house cleaning and committee reassignments. As an Independent lieberman gave up his seniority with the democrats, just like Senator Spector did when he switched parties. liebermans committee assignments should be commensurate with his seniority in the independent party...oh wait there is no recognized independent party.

I guess it is time to start the mail to Reid to can the gratuitous bastard pawn of the insurance industry and the camera.

Sue said...

Tom those quotes from years past are so telling, so revealing, the party of NO has not advanced with society one friggin bit! Amazing obstructionist pigs!

RealityZone said...

Why in the world does any one even pay any attention to the rethugs? They should be shunned from society. They have no credibility, no honor, no decency. They are the plague and saboteurs of society. They should be treated as null and void. This shows more about the dems than it does the rethugs. We already knew that they would vote NO on everything. To me this shows that OBAMA did not fight for this as hard as he should of. The dem leadership is weak, complacent, and they are appeasing to a wall of no. The longer this stays in debate the weaker it gets. This is nothing to cheer about. The true fight has just begun.

RealityZone said...

Reid prepares for the CAVE IN.

Sue said...

I'm hoping for the opposite affect RZ. I hope we get to see dems get down and dirty because they know how important this fight is. It will also show how irrelevant rethugs are too, the lies will be rampant!!

TomCat said...

DC, I fear you may be correct. A commentator on MSNBC, the most centrist of the networks, just pointed out that she thinks the party will ask the majority base to give up the public option to attract those few DINOs needed. NOT THIS TIME! We've given up far too much already.

Mark, I fully agree, but Reid will not because he wants his vote for cloture to close debate. I don;t think he'll get it, but LIEberman will play it until the last minute.

That they are, Sue.

RZ, expect plenty from me about pressuring our Senators to represent us.

TomCat said...

Sorry RZ and Sue. You commented while I was replying. I hope with Sue, but fear with RZ.

If they cave in now, they are killing their chance to stay in office.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Great Post TC!
I'm just going to ditto Sue here. It'll probably lay somewhere inbetween, but still... it sure did make DC Democrats happy last night. I think they deserve that moment. :-)

But hey, that's me... the cup is half full... they don't call me the cosmic Pollyanna fer nuthin.

Holte Ender said...

The Democratic leadership is claiming a victory just to get a debate, well we have arrived at the foot of the mountain, a time for the prima donnas to take their bow, enjoy your Thanksgiving, it might not be such a Merry Christmas.

Stimpson said...

I'm trying to decide who's the more repugnant A-hole in this story: LIEberman or McConJob.

Marva said...

It'll be business as usual. The Dems will tuck tail and concede to ridiculous Rep modifications.

We'll end up with a suck bill and then the Reps will say Told You So!

Back to my study of "socialist" counties that might welcome retired US ex-pats. You know, countries like Denmark, Norway, Cuba. Nah, I don't like the Castros, either.

RealityZone said...

@ MARVA===It makes it easier for me because my wife is S/Korean. Even though she is an American citizen she can go back. As such i will be permitted entry as well. You might want to check it out. I have some good sites on it if you are interested. We will be going there when it is time.

TomCat said...

Gwen, I do admire your optimism but Harry is already humping the GOP leg. :-(

Holte, in 1994 the vote to open the health care bill debate in the Senate was unanimous.

Dang Stimpson!! That's a tough choice!!

Marva, I fear you are correct.

RZ, bring in the kim chee! :-)