Thursday, March 4, 2010

Congress vote on health care per the Constitution not with “parliamentary gimmicks”

President Obama said on Wednesday, "The American people want to know if it's still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future. They are waiting for us to act. They are waiting for us to lead. And as long as I hold this office, I intend to provide that leadership. I don't know how this plays politically, but I know it's right. And so I ask Congress to finish its work, and I look forward to signing reform into law" (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/health/policy/04health.html?nl=us&emc=politicsemailema1). In a letter sent out by President Obama on Wednesday he stated, "I strongly believe that Congress now owes the American people a final vote on health care reform. Reform has already passed the House with bipartisan support and the Senate with a super-majority of sixty votes. Now it deserves the same kind of up-or-down vote that has been routinely used and has passed such landmark measures as welfare reform and both Bush tax cuts."

I agree with President Obama that Americans deserve a vote on health care reform but not through the reconciliation process. Americans in Massachusetts spoke loudly, remind you Massachusetts has socialized medicine, by sending a Republican to the Senate on the key platform promise to derail Obama-Care. No one disagrees that reform is needed and what is included in the 2700 page bill is not it. It creates over 100 new government agencies, establishes over 50 new taxes, mandates all Americans have health insurance or face fines and/or imprisonment, and does not pass Obama's "Pay Go" pledge.

The Pew Institute put out a poll, http://pewresearch.org/databank/dailynumber/?NumberID=953, asking Americans what the Top Priorities for 2010 are. The top five are: 1) Economy 83%, 2) Jobs 81%, 3) Terrorism 80%, 4) Social Security 66%, and 5) Education 65%. Health Insurance is tied in 10th at 49% with Military, Energy, and Crime. So when the Obama says Congress owes America to vote on health care reform perhaps he needs to refocus as people are more concerned with other items. But if Obama wants Congress to move forward with a vote then follow the proper legislative process by going to Conference Committee and having both houses of Congress to vote. Yes, reconciliation has been used in the past and each time the average vote for the passage is 67 votes in the Senate. Right now Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) would be lucky to get 51 and the 51st vote may have to be cast by Vice President Biden.

If the health care reform put forth, passed by the House and Senate, is right for America then allow the legislative process, without gimmicks such as reconciliation, run its course. Citizens will contact their representatives to have their opinion heard. To ram it through Congress as is being threatened is not how our Fore Fathers envisioned the Constitution to work when they risked their lives to create. I agree with Obama, let's demand Congress vote without "parliamentary games" and go through the natural process. What is the White House afraid of? The Democrats had every vote they needed last year to pass health care reform but obviously Americans spoke as some within the Democrat ranks could not sign on or get the blessing of their constituents.