Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas:
To help cover huge medical bills in Bastrop, Texas, they hold a Main Street pancake supper, an American Legion auction. Essential health care shouldn’t depend on the kindness of strangers, the goodness of neighbors, and certainly not the just say “No” of Republicans or the weak tea parties brewed up by the insurance lobby.
Now, belatedly, they offer a scheme as skimpy as a hospital gown. They do nothing to help seniors. Their proposal is inefficient, ineffective, and wasteful. Masquerading as reform, their bill authorizes insurers to continue denying coverage for pre-existing health conditions, such as acne or a C-section. Republican obstructionism has, itself, become a giant pre-existing condition to any meaningful change.
This is a typical old time Republican medicine show–do a little for 5% of the uninsured, do nothing for the other 95% and leave the portion of American families uninsured largely unchanged. The only thing they propose more of is more insurance policy loopholes. Freedom? The only freedom they offer is the freedom to go broke from medical debts – the leading cause of personal bankruptcy.
(left to right: John Rent-a-Baby Shadegg, Joseph My-Ass-Is-Teabagger-Grass Cao, Michele Batshit I-Got-Lei’ed Bachmann, Eric The Token Cantor, John Boohoo Boehner)
SUPER-IMPORTANT BREAKING NEWS ALERT DING DING DING: John Boehner just pronounced “hyperbole” as “hyperbowl,” and everyone laughed, the end.
From The New York Times:
Some lawmakers today used live props — infants and young children — to help make their arguments about health care as they take to the House floor on Saturday.
Representative John Shadegg, Republican of Arizona, held up the tiniest prop so far, a little girl called Maddie, 7 months old, whom he introduced as the daughter of a staff member. After saying he wished she were his grandchild, Mr. Shadegg apparently began channeling the infant’s hopes and dreams for the future of health care:
“Maddie likes America because we have freedom here, and Maddie believes in patient choice health care. She has come here to say she doesn’t want government to take over health care. She wants to keep her plan. [….”]
Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, conceded that the baby was quite remarkable, as was the ventriloquist act.
Shortly before health care reform passed the House Saturday night, Rep. Michele Bachmann rose to speak against the bill wearing a Hawaiian lei around her neck.
The American people overwhelmingly reject the government takeover of our health care. Last Friday a couple from Hawaii decided the time was so short they needed to get on a plane, come to Washington, to beg their representative to vote no — from Hawaii. What sacrifices freedom-loving Americans are making to get their government’s attention. And how big our government has gotten. They brought me this beautiful, precious lei and I’m reminded that the one who created this lei also created our freedom. Are we so insensible to the high cost our forebearers paid to purchase our freedom? Tonight, would we foolishly bargain those freedoms away? The American people, our forebearers, generations yet unborn are crying out to us tonight, for us to preserve their freedoms. Vote no on the government takeover of health care.
Both of Hawaii’s Members of Congress voted yes on the bill.
(Video at link)
By the way, kids, if you work for an employer for 20 hours a week or more in Hawaii, your employer must provide health insurance for you. Maybe someone should tell Batshit I-Got-Lei’ed Bachmann.
There’s a reason why Eric the Token Jew Cantor is trying to hide. It’s the same reason Joseph Cao is stuck in John Rent-a-Baby Shadegg’s headlock while forced to wear a target on his shirt. From The Washington Post:
In the tumult of cheers that erupted when Democrats in the House of Representatives reached the required 218 votes to pass the health care reform bill Saturday night, a member who had been waiting for that moment then cast his vote, and dashed the prediction of House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that no Republican would support it.
Freshman Rep. Joseph “Ahn” Cao (R-La.) said becoming the only one of the 177 Republicans in the House to back the bill was a vote of “conscience” that would help the poor and uninsured in his district.
Cantor, in charge of rallying Republicans against Democratic proposals, had been by Cao’s side when the voting started. As the two men chatted, they kept looking upward at the tally displayed on the wall high above them.
While neither man or their staffs has said what the two discussed, it became clear that Cao would not vote until after the Democrats had reached the required 218 to pass the bill. But once the Democrats reached that threshold on their own and started cheering, Cao cast his vote, one of the last five members to do so. Cantor stood and walked away, while Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.) crossed over from the Democratic side of the chamber to shake the hand of the only Republican to back the health care reform bill.
[Cao] had become the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress in a stunning victory in December in a heavily Democratic district.
White House aides had spoken several times to Cao in the days before the vote. But Cao, a devout Catholic who considered becoming a priest before turning to law, had largely ruled out backing the bill because of provisions that would allow abortions under programs created under the bill, although taxpayer funding would not directly be used.
But after a group of Democrats opposed to abortion successfully pushed Friday for a vote that would essentially bar new health programs created under the House bill from offering abortions, Cao said he called the White House on Friday night to say he would consider backing the bill. By Saturday, he found himself on the phone with President Obama.
“Today, I obtained a commitment from President Obama that he and I will work together to address the critical health care issues of Louisiana including the FMAP crisis and community disaster loan forgiveness, as well as issues related to Charity and Methodist Hospitals,” he said in a statement. “And, I call on my constituents to support me as I work with him on these issues.”
The soft-spoken Cao, 42, had occasionally bucked his party in his first year in Congress, backing the Democratic-pushed resolution to condemn Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for shouting “you lie” during Obama’s speech on health care in September and also a bill unpopular among Republicans to extend federal hate crimes laws to gays. His decisions may reflect his conscience, but also the reality that if is to win reelection, he must lean to the left in a district that voted 75 percent for Obama in 2008. Congressional Democrats are already planning to campaign aggressively against him next year, and they said Saturday’s vote would not change those plans.