Posts Tagged ‘democrats’

House Democrats Pass Historic Healthcare Bill 220-215

House Democrats voted tonight in favor of a healthcare bill that has been making its way through Congress for the past six months. The final vote was 220 to 175. 219 Democrats voted in favor of passage and 39 Democrats voted against. 1 Republican joined Democrats in supporting the final bill while 176 Republicans voted against healthcare reform. 218 votes were needed for passage.

Before the final version of the bill was voted on 64 House Democrats joined 176 Republicans in adopting an amendment proposed by Representative Stupak of Michigan that would keep current law regarding public funding of abortion – which is prohibited. Further, it would prohibit private plans in the so-called “healthcare exchange” that would provide consumers with a number of different options for healthcare plans. The majority of Democrats contend that this amendment will result in dropped coverage for women seeking an abortion under existing private plans.

The Republican substitute amendment, which would only cover 3 million Americans vs. 36 million under the Democratic plan, lost a vote before the full House with zero Democrats voting in favor. A single Republican voted against his party on their substitute proposal – Illinois Representative Tim Johnson. The Republican proposal focused on tort reform and all but ignored the estimated 45 million uninsured Americans, along with issues such as outlawing pre-existing conditions.


If you are interested in knowing how your member of Congress voted on the Affordable Health Care for America Act, visit the following link: Man are they fast! The vote totals got posted within a few minutes. Also, I have included a video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s floor speech earlier this afternoon below.

Support for Public Option on the Rise

A newly published poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows that support for the public option is on the rise. “On the issue that has been a flash point in the national debate, 57 percent of all Americans now favor a public insurance option, while 40 percent are opposed. Support has risen since mid-August, when a bare majority, 52 percent, said they favored it,” the poll found. That’s a very comfortable majority that Democrats enjoy, including among independents.

The poll also found more good news for Democrats that favor a public option. A majority of the public supports passing a public option even if it lacks any Republican votes at all:

Faced with a basic strategic choice that soon may confront the administration and Democratic congressional leaders, a slim majority of Americans, 51 percent, would prefer a reform plan that included some form of government insurance for people who cannot get affordable private coverage even if it had no GOP support in Congress. Thirty-seven percent would rather have a bipartisan plan without such a choice. Republicans and Democrats are on opposite sides of this question, with independents preferring legislation with a public option and without Republican support by 52 to 35 percent.

It’s clear where the public stands. Now Democrats needs to listen to those that elected them to change the system. Republicans will oppose any healthcare reform bill, whether it has a public option or not. We should put forward the strongest possible plan and that would be one that includes a competitor to private insurers. That is the only way costs will be driven down while protecting consumers.

Olbermann Combats the “Deathers”

The conspiracy driven “birther” movement surrounding President Obama’s birth certificate has been well covered lately on the news. Many Republicans do not feel that the current president is legitimate, despite his overwhelming victory in November. In their racist desperation, they have latched on to this idea that Obama was born in Kenya, not in Hawaii, and is thus ineligible to be president.

A similar group of conservative wackjobs known as the “deathers” are floating the idea that President Obama’s healthcare reform will lead to euthanizing of elderly people. Former VP candidate (and recently resigned governor of Alaska) Sarah Palin went so far as calling the president’s plan “evil”. The fuss that Republicans are stirring up comes from a provision that would prevent another Terri Shiavo-like situation where the government steps in to determine whether a person should live or die (like the Republicans in Congress and Bush attempted). As the AP reports:

A provision in the House bill written by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would allow Medicare to pay doctors for voluntary counseling sessions that address end-of-life issues. The conversations between doctor and patient would include living wills, making a close relative or a trusted friend your health care proxy, learning about hospice as an option for the terminally ill and information about pain medications for people suffering chronic discomfort.

Ironically, it was George H. W. Bush’s administration that instituted a policy that requires hospitals to ask patients if they have a living will. Facts are nasty things. Of course the Republican Party never let that get in their way. Keith Olbermann tackled the issue in a Special Comment on Monday night:

Sotomayor Confirmed as First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice Amid Token GOP Support

Sonia Sotomayor was today confirmed by the United States Senate by a 68-31 vote (Senator Kennedy expressed support but was unable to attend the vote due to illness). Justice Sotomayor will be the first Latino ever to sit on the Supreme Court. She is replacing Justice David Souter after he announced his retirement in June. Senate Republicans gave token support to Sotomayor with three fourths of them voting “no” on the nomination, among them the so-called “maverick” John McCain. All of the Senate’s Democrats supported her nomination. The Republicans voting in favor of her nomination include:

Lamar Alexander (Tennessee)
Kit Bond (Missouri)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)
Judd Gregg (New Hampshire)
Richard Lugar (Indiana)
Mel Martinez (Florida)
Olympia Snowe (Maine)
George Voinovich (Ohio)

Four years ago Justice John Roberts, who has proven to backtrack on his promise to follow judicial precedent, was confirmed by the Senate with 78 votes, including 22 Democrats. It’s a shame that Republicans chose politics (perhaps it has something to do with the NRA’s threat that a vote in favor would affect their rating of them) instead of supporting a well qualified Latino woman. Four of those Republicans that supported her are retiring. Perhaps they felt free to vote based on qualifications and not just politics.

Olbermann Criticizes “Legislators For Sale”

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC has made a name for himself with his Special Comment commentary pieces (which unlike Fox News, MSNBC at least distinguishes news from opinion). This week he took on members of Congress for being beholden to the insurance industry. His aim was squarely at Republicans, although a few Blue Dog Democrats also felt his wrath.

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