House Democrats Pass Landmark Health Care Bill
By Erin Kotecki Vest on November 07, 2009
BlogHer Original Post
After a visit by President Barack Obama asking them to "answer the call of history," House Democrats shepherded the passage tonight of landmark health care legislation.
The final vote tally was 220-215, with one Republican voting for the bill and 39 Democrats voting against.
Jackie Kucinich from Roll Call explains the lone Republican vote:
(Rep. Anh “Joseph”) Cao was originally expected to vote “no” on the bill along with the rest of his colleagues because it didn’t explicitly ban funding for abortion. But since Democrats agreed to allow a vote on the Stupak amendment, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gave their blessing on the Democratic health care bill provided the amendment is accepted — the vote became even tougher for the freshman Republican.
NPR reports the legislation's path was indeed cleared by the Stupak Amendment:
...the Stupak Amendment, introduced by conservative Democrats and intended to bar abortion services from any insurance plan paid for with a federal subsidy, passed in the House of Representatives late Saturday night. The vote was 240-194 in favor, with one vote of "present." Sixty-four Democrats voted "yes" on the amendment, along with all but one Republican, John Shaddeg (R-Ariz.), who voted "present."
A modest and less expensive Republican alternative was voted down, 176-258, with the vote nearly all along party lines. One lone Republican voted against his party's plan, Tim Johnson (R-Ill.)
Rayne at Firedoglake writes,
It’s a fundamental part of our belief system in the Democratic Party, that women have a right to privacy in their reproductive health care decisions. We’ve fought long and hard to protect this right.
And now we’ve seen decades of work to protect this fundamental human right dashed by our own Democratic representatives
While Backyard Conservative writes,
64 Dems vote in favor. But of course no guarantee it will survive conference. Three times Rep. Boehner, Republican Leader asked Democrat committee chairman to guarantee to support it in conference and they would not.
One of the other more talked about moments during of the day of debate came as the Democratic Women's Caucus took to the floor:
The Mahablog called the incident "...nothing but bullying." While Little Green Footballs says "...we get treated to the lovely spectacle of Republicans openly opposed to letting women have a voice in an important debate, and acting like boorish sexist pigs."
President Obama released a statement praising the passage of the bill,
The Affordable Health Care for America Act is a piece of legislation that will provide stability and security for Americans who have insurance; quality affordable options for those who don’t; and bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses, and the government while strengthening the financial health of Medicare. And it is legislation that is fully paid for and will reduce our long-term federal deficit.
But clearly not all were impressed. PolicyGal tweets, "Yes America, this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause. And the Evil Emperor is wearing a hideous red dress."
While Karoli writes, "imperfect, it is. likely to become even more imperfect in coming days. but it *is* progress. and it does expose the bugs, so to speak."
The Washington Post reports the Senate will now take up the matter,
Democrats have sought for decades to provide universal health care, but not since the 1965 passage of Medicare and Medicaid has a chamber of Congress approved such a vast expansion of coverage. Action now shifts to the Senate, which could spend the rest of the year debating its version of the health-care overhaul. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to bring a measure to the floor before Thanksgiving, but legislation may not reach Obama's desk before the new year.
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