tagged w/ Congressional legislation
Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) formally announced on Sunday that he would support the Senate's final version of health care reform. But in doing so he cast blame for the loss of a public option for insurance coverage partially on the president's shoulders and urged House and Senate negotiators to re-insert the government-run plan back into the legislation during conference committee.
From the Wisconsin Democrat's press office came the following statement:
I've been fighting all year for a strong public option to compete with the insurance industry and bring health care spending down. I continued that fight during recent negotiations, and I refused to sign onto a deal to drop the public option from the Senate bill. Unfortunately, the lack of support from the administration made keeping the public option in the bill an uphill struggle. Removing the public option from the Senate bill is the wrong move, and eliminates $25 billion in savings. I will be urging members of the House and Senate who draft the final bill to make sure this essential provision is included. [Ed. Note: Emphasis ours.]
But while the loss of the public option is a bitter pill to swallow, on balance, the bill still delivers meaningful reform, and the cost of inaction is simply too high. This bill significantly expands coverage and helps protect Wisconsinites from high costs and insurance company abuses, such as denying or restricting coverage based on pre-existing conditions. The bill also improves a flawed Medicare formula that denies Wisconsin fair reimbursement rates, encourages the kind of low-cost, high-value care practiced in our state, increases access to home and community-based long-term care, and reduces federal budget deficits by $132 billion over the next decade.
One of the prominent progressives in Congress, Feingold's statement gives voice to the frustration that many Democrats have felt when watching the health care debate unfold. The Obama White House, quite consciously, refused to draw a line around the public plan even as Senate Democrats practically begged for them to do so.
The decision may have been strategically astute -- positioning the president appropriately for when the public option was to meet its natural sacrifice. But it also opens the president to criticism like Feingold's and it feeds the meme of Obama's timidity.Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) formally announced on Sunday that he would support the... more
In a move that seems designed to push Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) on health care reform, the North Dakota Democratic Party voted two weeks ago to make the public option for insurance coverage a stated objective of its platform.
At a little-noticed policy committee meeting on September 19, state Democratic officials passed a resolution affirming their commitment to "universal single payer health care legislation." As a fallback option, the resolution read, the officials supported the creation of a government-run plan for insurance.
In an effort to apply the pressure to their representatives in Congress, the party also sent letters to the offices of Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan, as well as Rep. Earl Porneroy, alerting them to the passed resolution.
The letter from Joe Aronson, executive director of the North Dakota Democrats, reads as follows:
On April 4, 2008, the Democratic-NPL Party met in Grand Forks for its biennial State Convention. During the Convention, the party adopted a platform and resolutions... Under the 'National' Issues' heading, item number 27, the party called 'upon Congress to enact universal single payer health care legislation.' I write to remind the delegation that this is your state party's official position on healthcare reform.
The resolution adopted by the Policy Committee on September 19, 2009, included an amendment that authorized me to request that if you do not support the party's official 2008 resolution preference, we would respectfully ask that you consider support a 'public option'
On behalf of the Democratic-NPL Party, I thank you for your consideration.
A member of the North Dakota Democratic Party said that the resolution was a statement of principle on health care reform that reflected the overwhelming consensus among Democrats in the state. "No one voted against it," said Chad Nodland, who sits on the executive committee for the state party. "And by the end of the meeting there were probably 60 to 75 people still there."
But the resolution also seems like a clear effort to exert pressure on North Dakota's congressional delegation. Conrad remains one of the highest-profile holdouts on the public option, insisting that the provision does not have the votes to pass the Senate and makes for bad policy. His obstinacy is frustrating Democrats in his home state.
"I don't understand the votes that have gone on," said Nodland, in reference to the debate in the Senate Finance Committee. "What I'm saying is, I can't put together what I've watched with what has been explained to me. I'm frustrated. I wish that what we were seeing were different [from Conrad] than what we've been seeing."
This is the second time that state party Democrats have put the pressure on a senior senator from that state to back the public option. This past weekend, the Nebraska Democratic Party passed a resolution making the provision a part of their platform -- in a vote that seemed designed to serve notice to Sen. Ben Nelson, (D-Neb.)
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/06/north-dakota-dems-pass-re_n_311584.htmlIn a move that seems designed to push Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) on health care reform,... more
The Nebraska Democratic Party put the state's senior senator, Ben Nelson, in an awkward spot on Saturday by passing a resolution making support for a government-run insurance option a central aspect of its platform.
In a nearly unanimous vote at a committee meeting in Fort Omaha Metro Community College, about 70 attendees approved language that urges members of Congress "to vote for such health care reform proposals that contain a robust public option at all stages of the legislative process including conference and reconciliation, and encourage legislators to pass such reform."
Nelson remains one of the highest-profiled U.S. Senate Democratic holdouts on the public plan, even recently declining to commit to voting against a Republican filibuster of legislation that included the provision.
Officials at the Nebraska Democratic Party said the committee vote was not meant as a rebuke of the senator, who has historically taken a conservative approach to public policy issues. More an encouragement to all Democratic state legislators.
"Let's put it this way," said Vic Covalt, State Chair of the state party. "The Nebraska Democratic Party is a big tent party and Ben Nelson is a good Democrat. We believe he will represent us well.
"Sen. Nelson represents the entire state of Nebraska and he is going to do the best he can to do," he added. "The Nebraska Democratic Party is obviously a little bit to the pro-public option side of Ben. Though I'm not sure because I'm not sure where he is at."
Only one of the committee members opposed the resolution, which accuses the "healthcare insurance industry and their allies" of organizing and funding efforts to kill the public plan or pass compromise health care reform. And the Nebraska Democratic Party deliberately put into the final language a pledge to "send a copy of this resolution to all members of Congress who represent any of our members."
"[The provision] is popular with the Democrats in the state because we believe without it the bill could too easily become a welfare program for the insurance industry," said Covalt. The argument supporters made was that without the public plan, "basically we end up subsidizing insurance companies and hurting taxpayers who don't have coverage."
BELOW IS A COPY OF THE RESOLUTION:
WHEREAS, the heath care system of the United States is in crisis, with almost fifty million Americans lacking any health insurance, tens of millions more lacking adequate coverage, and millions more who do have private coverage paying increasingly unaffordable premiums, resulting in inadequate access to care and premature death, illness, or financial ruin for millions of Americans; and
WHEREAS, public polls show that a majority of Americans want health care reform to offer the choice of a robust public option in order to inject real competition into the marketplace and, in the words of President Obama, "keep the insurance companies honest:" and
WHEREAS, some in the healthcare insurance industry and their allies have organized and funded groups of extremists to disrupt efforts on the part of the majority and administration to discuss the issue with the American people reasonably, and have demonstrated an unwillingness to compromise in any way to pass meaningful health care reform;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Nebraska Democratic Party urge our members of Congress to vote for such health care reform proposals that contain a robust public option at all stages of the legislative process including conference and reconciliation, and encourage legislators to pass such reform;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Nebraska Democratic Party shall send a copy of this resolution to all members of Congress who represent any of our members.
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/05/nebraska-dems-put-nelson_n_310310.htmlThe Nebraska Democratic Party put the state's senior senator, Ben Nelson, in an... more
On numerous visits to Manhattan, I have found myself poking around the city trying to find a moment of quiet and once located a hint of it in Central Park during a windless, late-night snowfall. There I stood absolutely still in the lemon glow of the city, a sky full of snow. The city still roared from all sides, a thousand noises compressed down to just one. I counted that distant, mild roar as quiet, a welcome relief from the more pressing noises of the daytime city.
Great Article from Miller-McCune MagazineOn numerous visits to Manhattan, I have found myself poking around the city trying to... more
The long community fight to close the Integrated Environmental Systems (IES) medical waste and solid waste incinerators in Oakland, California has ended in victory.
Article by Bradley Angel
GreenactionThe long community fight to close the Integrated Environmental Systems (IES) medical... more
We've never been closer to breaking the political gridlock in Washington. Find out the latest on historic climate and energy legislation that's moving through Congress, and how you can help.
**** (This post is only one time post. This Public Action Briefing has been closed )
For more information visit;
http://www.repoweramerica.orgWe've never been closer to breaking the political gridlock in Washington. Find... more
It's really interesting to see how people are responding to the various iterations of this bill so far. Hopefully there is enough opposition to make something constructive happen, instead of another $700 billion poison pill...
From the article:
"The biggest financial bailout in American history hit a speed bump Tuesday on Capitol Hill as members of the Senate began to balk at quick action to pass the measure, saying such a massive proposal requires more careful discussion and consideration.
While there was no sense that the plan, authored by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, was yet in peril, Senators suggested at a hearing with Paulson, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and other top regulatory officials that the measure would not be completed by the end of the week..."
Read full story at link.
A few other trailing stories on this one:
(Treasury bill analysis) http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/36200
(Proposed text) http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/20/news/economy/treasury_proposal/index.htm
("Official people" comments on bill/plan) http://www.politico.com/arena/
It's really interesting to see how people are responding to the various... more