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Why Did They Vote The Way They Did?

Bookmark and Share  As riveting as last night’s government healthcare takeover vote was, part of the mystique behind Health Care Reformit involved hundreds of individual stories that involved political horse trading, private deals, favors, bribes and even extortion-like coercion. To actually pass this very unpopular and contentious bill took more arm twisting and bone bending than you would find in a chiropractors office. The President and Speaker Pelosi asked many Democrats to, what they commonly call—- “walk the plank”. Many of them did. They need the financial backing of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee and they need the support of the leadership to pass legislation that is key to their districts. But some Democrats were also told that if they reach at least 219 votes, they could go ahead and vote against HR3692.

Traditionally, party leaders will let some legislators in their own party “off the hook” on some of the most controversial votes. This only happens if party leaders knows the bill can pass without that members vote. Some of that happened in last night’s election results.

Of the 39 Democrats who did vote against HR.3962, most are in swing districts that will be hard for Democrats to win reelection in.

Twelve of these 39 are freshman. When it comes to keeping their seats in 2010, they are some of the most vulnerable of Democrats and they have some of the most angry voters opposed to the government takeover plan. Which is why they are also some of those who were let off the hook.

Many of them took the same position that Ohio’s freshman Democrat John Boccieri stated in a press release, “While I fully support quality, affordable health care coverage for everyone, I am disappointed the House bill sadly does not go far enough to reduce the costs of getting there”. That position will allow these Democrats to remain competitive in relatively fiscally conservative districts.

The only exceptions is Dennis Kucinich.

Kucinich is safe no matter what he does in his liberal district. He likely opposed the bill because under the instructions of President Obama, House Education and Labor Committee Chair George Miller successfully shot down a his amendment that would have allowed states to choose to improve the healthcare system by creating state-level single-payer healthcare programs of their own.

Based upon the makeup and history of their districts, the other 38 nay votes were obviously concerned with voter backlash. Moderate Democrats in swing districts did not particularly like the message that last Tuesday’s election results delivered. For them it was a warning shot right across their bow.

That accounts for the who and why some Democrats opposed HR3692.  But what of the lone Republican who voted for it?

Even though Louisiana’s freshman Congressman, Joseph Cao, is a Republican from a typically red states in the red South, his particular district is heavily blue. The former long time occupant of that seat was William Jefferson, the Congressman who was forced to resign after hundreds of thousand of dollars were found in his freezer and he was convicted of illegal financial schemes. Cao simply came into office because he was not a  felon. That kind of approval does not exactly indicate a groundswell of support and a loyal following. It also means that Cao will have a hard time getting reelected if he finds himself running against a Democrat opponent without a criminal record. The district is clearly left of center, so voter backlash is also what forced Louisiana’s Joseph Cao to offer up the sole Republican “yea” vote for government micromanagement of our health care.

Congressman Cao’s vote was one of the last to be recorded and it was only cast after the Democrats exceeded the 218 votes needed for passage. It was probably one of the most astonishing profiles in cowardice we have seen in year’s. There was never even a  hint that  such a break was being contemplated, so his lone Republican vote for the HR 3962 came as a surprise to GOP leaders.

Cao’s last minute “yea” vote was just an attempt to give liberals in his district one less reason to vote against him. But you know what? It won’t work. Liberals will almost always choose a Democrat who is honest about their liberalism over a Republican pretending to be liberal.   At the same time, the minority of  Republicans who do live in Cao’s district will not necessarily vote for a Republican whose vote is no different than a Democrat’s vote.

Ultimately the 39 Democrats who opposed Pelosicare,  or were excused from having to support it, may end up in good standing come next November.  They will be able to stand up and say that they did not burden Amercans with a cumbersome government takeover that will micromanage our healthcare needs and choices while placing unelected and acountable czars, diectors, commissions, committees, bureaus, panels, advisors and political appointed hacks between us and our doctors.  All while raising costs, increasing taxes and sending jobs overseas at a time when we have double digit unemployment and need them now, more than ever.

It is, the economy, Stupid.   But since liberals don’t get it, those Democrats who were not among the 39 that were let off the hook, may have a helluva  tough reelection ahead of them.  They won’t be alone though.  After proving to be the most spinless Republican in the House, Louisiana’s freshman Representative  Joseph Cao is likely to  find himself on the losing end of a vote.  The one for him.

The following is a list of those who joined Kucinich and Boccieri in their opposition to the government health management takeover package were as follows:

John Adler, NJ-3, Freshman
Jason Altmire, PA-4
Brian Baird, WA-3
John Barrow, GA-12
Dan Boren, OK-2
Rick Boucher, VA-09
Allen Boyd, FL-02
Bobby Bright, AL-02 – Freshman
Ben Chandler, KY-06
Travis Childers, MS-01
Artur Davis, AL-07
Lincoln Davis, TX-04
Chet Edwards, TX-17
Bart Gordon, TN-6
Parker Griffith, AL-05 – Freshman
Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, SD
Tim Holden, PA-17
Larry Kissell, NC-8 – Freshman
Suzanne Kosmas, FL-24 –Freshman
Frank Kratovil, MD-1 – Freshman
Betsy Markey, CO-4 – Freshman
Jim Marshall, GA-8
Eric Massa, NY-8 – Freshman
Jim Matheson, UT-2
Mike McIntyre, NC-7
Michael McMahon, NY-13
Charlie Melancon, LA-3
Walt Minnick, ID-1 – Freshman
Scott Murphy, NY-20
Glenn Nye, VA-2, Freshman
Collin Peterson. MN-7
Mike Ross, AZ-4
Heath Shuler, NC-11
Ike Skelton, MO-4
John Tanner, TN-8
Gene Taylor,
MS-4
Harry Teague, NM-02, Freshman

If any of these guys are in your state, you might want to call their office and thank them.  We are usually pretty quick to express or anger at legislators and our displeasure with them.  When one of them does something right, regardless of what their reason was, we should let them know, that their are many people who are paying attention and that their are some benefits when they do things right. 

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Reform Bill Passes The House But It’s A Version That Will Not Fly In The Senate

Bookmark and Share    While last night’s rare Saturday session of the House of Representatives and their subsequent Government Health Care and Insurance Takeovervote on the big government takeover of the American health care system was at times suspenseful, ultimately it won passage. The vote was quite close though. In the end 39 Democrats opposed the bill and in what was one of the most cowardly acts of the entire health care reform debate, one Republican, freshman Joseph Cao of Louisiana, waited till the last minute and only after the bill had one more vote than it needed for passage, did he cast his vote for it.

By five votes, the House of Representatives approved an over 1 trillion dollar government take over of health management and health insurance that, if it comes to fruition, will change just about every aspect of life in America. H.R.3962, the deceptively titled Affordable Health Care for America Act is one of the most transformative pieces of legislation ever passed and second only to the liberal Tax-and-Trade energy bill that Democrats in the House passed earlier this year.

Alone, each measure amounts to some of the greatest transfers of wealth in the history of mankind. Together they will be the greatest transfer of wealth and the most obnoxiously large consolidation of  federal power and control that any generation in America has ever known. Together, the Cap-and-Trade bill and the government health management measure will tax the health out of our economy and the life out of the middle class.

To be sure, the passage of HR. 3962 is a victory for President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  That is undeniable and it should not be downplayed. To have actually been able to whip enough votes together to pass this reform bill, while a majority of the American people oppose it, means that the President still has great influence over his conference and Nancy Pelosi has proven herself to be masterful at her job. But the type of influence and mastery they exhibited here may not exactly be the type that America needs. First of all, it only extends to their conference. They were unable to persuade, scare, or extort Republicans to support them. That means that the President and Pelosi’s appeal and sphere of influence is limited to those who are already on their side. They fail to expand their appeal or base in Congress or, more importantly, among the voters. Although it seems like it was months ago, the elections held throughout America this past Tuesday proved that.

It is also important to recognize the type of  influence that Speaker Pelosi and President Obama wielded in the health care takeover vote. To pass the bill, an endless amount of deal making went into the process. And all of those deals were conducted under the table and behind closed doors. The horse trading that took place among a group of politicians, limited exclusively to Democrats, is what helped to account for the extraordinary size of the bill—–1,900 pages. It is also something that we will pay for dearly in the next few coming year’s. This bill was passed by the creations of favors that will allow Democrat committee chairman to reward “yea” votes on HR. 3692 by approving more pork in future spending bills than all the pig farms in the Midwest. Democrats will be approving some of the most harebrained legislation you’ve ever seen and they will do so because of three words—– “you owe me”.

House%20Floor%201The same goes for the President too.

For every arm Pelosi and the President twisted, two favors were offered. So many favors were offered in order to pass government managed health reform and insurance that much of the legislative agenda for this and next year, will be based entirely on the need to payback the favors promised to Democrats running for reelection next year. If you think the legislative agenda of Congress will be based on the needs of the people, think again. Our needs will be secondary and even tertiary when it comes to the needs of Democrats facing tough reelection bids and saying to Nancy,——- “you owe me this”.

Add to that the likelihood that both Pelosi and the President may have blown their entire wad of influence on this one vote though. They may have exhausted any chance of passing any other controversial bills in the next legislative session because they may have had to call in too many favors on this one vote. That may be the only silver lining here. The liberal leadership had to pull so many strings, that they may not have the ability to try to ram through anymore of their radically, transformative agenda for quite some time to come.

What’s more is that all the favors, arm twisting, finger bending, deceit and depletion of legislative resources could be for naught. No matter what happens, the favors and deals for those placed their support for Pelosicare on the record and now face some stiff reelection bids, will still have be paid back. And the truth is, that what passed in the House is not likely to pass in Senate.

Typically, the House is much more radical, more extreme than the United States Senate. The House of Representatives is based upon extremists elected from gerrymandered districts within the population that are largely created by drawn based upon ideological preferences. Most districts are either predominantly liberal or predominantly conservative. This means that a member of the House can more afford to take an extreme position. Their districts are largely drawn based upon people with extreme positions leaning one way or the other. There are exceptions of course. There exist a few handfuls of “swing” districts which are moderate. But such seats are in the minority.

The Senate however has no members elected from districts that are carved out to match specifically match their political and ideological personality. These people are elected from entire states. So Senators try to placate everyone. That is not conducive to taking extreme positions. Between that and rules that govern the Senate which are quite different than those governing the House and you have a legislative that, unlike the House of Representatives, tends to water down legislation and moderate the final results. The Senate is also a bit more shrewd than the House. They often take a wait and see approach.

Remember that historic Cap-and-Trade energy bill that the lower chamber of Congress passed many moons ago? The Senate has yet to act on it? In the case of health care reform, the Senate which reached established a bill of their own has waited to see exactly what the House version was before they move ahead with their own. They will now carefully review what is in the House bill and monitor the public reaction to it. But Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t have a great deal of time to put his finger in the wind. He is going to have to call for a vote on a final government health care over right away. The more time that the public has to understand what is actually in the bill recently passed in the House, the more support and will and the more intense the objections will become.

The one thing you can rest assured on is that Pelosicare, as it was passed in its current form, will not be what the Senate approves. If a bill calling for the government takeover of health care is to be passed by the Senate, it will be watered down significantly. The public option is a major hurdle.  A final senate bill could include an opt out clause or maybe the “trigger” that liberal Republican Olympia Snowe likes. If compromise on that one issue can’t be reached, the so called public option, which is anything but an option, could be scrapped altogether.  In any event, passage of any health management and insurance reform bill that the President wants is far from done. If any version of reform is to actually make it to the President’s desk, it will modified to one degree or another in the Senate. If it isn’t, the big government takeover of health management and insurance won’t even have 50 votes, which is 10 less than they actually need to pass it. The message sent in the wake of this past Tuesday’s elections assures us that many Senator’s do not want to be saddled with the existing bill as they come up for reelection and are at the mercy of their statewide constituencies.

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Healthcare Debate Update: Stupak Anti-Abortion Funding Amendment Passes

Bookmark and Share    By a vote of 240 to 194, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment which provides language that will have prohibit the House bill for a government takeover of heath care, from allowing any funding of abortion procedures passed.

The move which satisfied a the handful of anti-abortion Democrats who were needed to pass the larger health reform bill. However; its passage could cause some of the majority of Democrats who are anti-right to lifers, to oppose the bill. Last night, Speaker Pelosi saw that if she allowed anti-abortion Democrats to get their away and adopt the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, she would have lost more votes for the overall health care reform bill than she would have gained

A majority of Democrats are so vehemently opposed to saving the lives of the unborn. Now we must wait and see just how many Democrats are so offended by not allowing federal funding for abortions that they will risk losing a vote to pass what they are the calling one of the most important pieces of legislation in our nation’s history.

Before the vote on the abortion funding amendment, a vast majority of Democrats made clear their strong opposition to the amendment. Some even suggested that it could prevent them from going ahead with their intended support for the final health care reform bill. Passage of the Stupak-Pitts anti-abortion funding amendment just adds further doubt about what the final House vote on the health reform bill will be.

In the mean time, following the Stupak-Pitts vote,as expected the Republican substitute Health Care Reform bill went down to defeat.

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Government Health Care Takeover May Go Down Because of Abortion

Bookmark and Share  Passage of the Pelosi-Obama government takeover of health care may all come down to the House Health Care Debate CoverageStupak-Pitts Amendment.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment is sponsored by Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan and Republican Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania and what is does is create language in the health care government takeover bill which not allow any federal monies in the plan to be used for abortion procedures.

At this point in time, as debate on government run health care is taking place and now as they specifically discuss the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, Democrat after Democrat are coming to the floor of the House and opposing it. A few though have stated that if this amendment is passed, they will vote for the bill.   These few are the Democrats who passage of the bill hinges on and it seems apparent that they will not get they want.  It should be noted that if they do not go what they want, neither will Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama.

Earlier in what was perhaps the most ingenious maneuver of the debate yet, House Republican Leader John Boehner asked a very important question. Congressman George Miller, the Chairnman of the House Committee on Education and Labor who stood to start dispensing time to those Democrats who could offer their remarks in the debate.  As he did  Boehner asked him the following. Will you assure me that in committee you will support the Stupak Amendment and its passage?   After trying to dodge the question, Miller finally stated that he can not make such an assurance.

This successfully allowed those Democrats whose votes the government health care takeover hinges on, to be more reluctant to support the bill.

Following that, as more and more Democrats angrily denounced the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and declared their opposition to it, House Democrats voted to delay any further on the Stupak-Amendment. What this could come down to is a standoff that will ultimately kill liberal attempts to have the government micromanage health care and insurance. A vast majority of Democrats are so opposed to saving the lives of the unborn that they will actually allow what they call one of the most important pieces of legislation in our nation’s history to fail.

For live streaming video coverage of the health care debate before its scheduled vote visit C-Span here.

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President Obama Asks Democrats To Walk The Plank On Healthcare Vote

   High Drama grips Washington, DC today in a way that has rarely ever been matched before. Few Congress pelosivotes have ever been quite as transformative as the healthcare and insurance reform bill which Democrats and Nancy Pelosi are proposing on behalf of President Obama.

The political intrigue being witnessed on this day is heightened by incredibly unique circumstances surrounding the actual vote.

First, it is very rare, for Congress to convene during the weekend. Second, it is not at all certain if Democrats have all the votes they need to pass the bill, however it is seemingly certain that every Republican is voting against it.

Third, as this is being written, President Obama is on Capitol meeting with fellow Democrats who are in the House. He is said to be telling them that his presidency is on the line with this vote. According to the Administration, if they fail to pass this legislation they will have a hard time getting future legislation passed. In politics, the term being used to get votes for healthcare reform right now, is to “walk the plank”. This means that the Administration and Speaker Pelosi are aware of the fact that many Democrats in moderate and even Republican districts may be voting against the will of their constituents. But The President and Pelosi are asking that they still walk the plank for them. They are claiming that if the Party fails to pass this bill, the liberal base of the party will not be there for those who voted against the bill and they may very well be so disappointed in the Democrat Party that the liberal base will sit at home come the 2010 general elections.

It is not often that the President of the United States personally comes to The Hill to twist arms in order to get members of his own party to vote for one of his initiatives. Doing so makes it clear that the liberal leadership is not sure that they have enough Democrats walking the plank for them. Republicans even claim that they have a commitment from 21 Democrats who say that they are voting no.

As of last week, 43 Democrats were voting against Pelosicare. That would have produced 215 yea votes to 220 nays. But since last week, hundreds of backroom deals have been made behind closed doors, twice as many arms were twisted and tons of changes have been made to the original bill in an attempt to at least win the minimum 218 votes needed to make this boondoggle law. Many of the changes have to do with language in the bill which would allow public funding in the bill to be allowed for abortion procedures. Quite a few socially conservative Democrats are opposed to such language but it would seem that many Blue Democrats are nothing more than lap dogs. Last night it would seem that many have shifted their support and at the moment Democrats are only 10 votes short of passing their liberal legislation.

But now, as the moment of truth approaches, the pressure being placed on Democrats to place their loyalty to party above their loyalty to their principles and the constituents they represent, is unlike any ever seen since LBJ personally called Democrat Senators and promised to use his own hands to crack their heads open if they didn’t support and pass his historic civil rights legislation.

For their part, Republicans have vowed to do everything possible to prevent this bill from being passed. They will use procedural objections and other tactics to stall it. They will also hold Democrats to their pledge to put a final version of legislation on line for a period of 72 hours before it comes to the floor for a full vote. The GOP will point out that with all the last minute changes being made to the bill in an attempt to win over any available Democrat votes, voting on the bill tonight would be premature and provide the American people with at least 72 hours to review the bill themselves.

For Democrats, if the healthcare reform bill does not get passed by the House, the Senate is not likely to bring it up for a vote and force Democrats to take a stand on the controversial issue. That would mean that Democrats would have to push the issue next year, during the midterm elections. It is more than likely that the President and Democrats will not want to be pushing a controversial debate that they are on the losing side of while they are also trying to win reelection and keep a hold on their majority power. So tonight is probably now or never for liberal attempts to have the government takeover health care and insurance.

This afternoon Speaker Pelosi spoke of the pending vote and called it “historic”. What she failed to mention is that history has two parts. There are good parts and there are bad parts. Rational people appreciate and support the good parts of history but they are not willing to repeat the worst parts of our history. Yes Madame Speaker; this 1,900 page novel which amounts to a government takeover of healthcare and insurance will forever more have the government micromanage what should be our health choices.

Yes indeed this is a historic vote but for all the wrong reasons. Hitler and Soviet style socialism are also historic but they reflect a history that we wish never happened and your government takeover of one fifth of our economy is something that most Americans hopes never happens.

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