As many of you may have heard this morning, the Senate Finance Committee (SFC), voted down a Republican amendment, along party lines, that would have required that the the SFC's health care reform bill to be posted online - in full legislative language - a full 72 hours before any voting could occur.
Yes, that's right. The Democrats, a part of the "most transparent administration ever," won't allow the American people, or the other Senators for that matter, the time to read and analyze the bill.
The SFC does not write the legislative language - this is a very important detail - they write a "conceptual framework" and that is what will be available for us to read. Yes, you read that correctly. The actual legislation which contains very important legal wording that does things like requiring people to have a government approved health care plan or pay a penalty tax can be written LATER, after the bill has been passed. This also means that the CBO cannot assess the costs as there are no details! The CBO can't do squat with a conceptual framework! It is so messed up that Congress can do this to us.
Oh and this is rich - the Democrats are saying that they voted the amendment down because it would have delayed a vote for weeks!! Oh no!! Goodness me! Delaying a vote for a few weeks on a bill that will affect 17% of the GDP and have the largest ramifications ever seen economically and won't even go in to effect until 2013 is just a preposterous idea!
While some measures may be enacted as soon as 2011, Avalere found that major assistance starts in 2013 for both House and HELP proposals. Some measures, such as eliminating the Medicare Part D donut hole, will take until 2023 to be realized.
How dare they allow time for writing the bill, reading the bill, debating the bill, getting input from the people they represent, analyzing the bill, and other really tedious and useless efforts! The Daily Kos is complaining about Olympia Snowe's support of this amendment and they also tip their hat as to why they oppose it:
To be clear, the Bunning amendment, which she voted for, would have delayed the Committee's final vote on the bill by as much as two weeks. Which would in turn delay the leaderships's reconciliation of the two bill, and which could also push Senate floor action on the bill past the October 15 decision-point on whether the bill goes through on reconciliation.
Aaaagghh. I see now. So delaying this monstrosity for two weeks will not allow the Senate to pass the bill that the majority of Americans do not want through the most sneaky, underhanded, un-democratic manner possible: budget reconciliation.
So what can you do?
ACTION ITEM #1 (more to come later)
Call the Senate Finance Committee Democrats and squishy Republicans
- Ask them if they think the American people are too stupid to understand legislative language and demand that they reconsider the Bunning amendment.
- Remind them that the bill will not take effect until 2013 and therefore you want them to do their jobs by writing the bill before they pass it.
- Demand that they strike the individual mandates and any sort of public option including "co-ops."
- Ask them if the bill addresses tort reform, deregulating insurance purchases across state lines, increases Health Savings Accounts limits, and other free market solutions.
- Lastly - DEMAND that they go through the regular channels of passing a bill, meaning that budget reconciliation is OUT OF THE QUESTION.
Here are the phone numbers:
MAX BAUCUS, MT
Phone: (202) 224-2651
Fax: (202) 224-9412
Fax: (202) 228-1493
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, WV
Phone: (202) 224-6472
Fax: (202) 224-7665
Fax: (202) 228-1610
KENT CONRAD, ND
Phone: (202) 224-2043
Fax: (202) 224-7776
JEFF BINGAMAN, NM
Phone: (202) 224-5521
JOHN F. KERRY, MA
Phone: (202) 224-2742
Fax: (202) 224-8525
BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR (Note: She voted for the Bunning amendment so say THANK YOU) Washington, DC
RON WYDEN, OR
Phone: (202) 224-5244
Fax: (202) 228-2717
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY
DEBBIE STABENOW, MI
Phone: (202) 224-4822
MARIA CANTWELL, WA
BILL NELSON, FL
ROBERT MENENDEZ, NJ
THOMAS CARPER, DE
Phone: (202) 224-2441
Fax: (202) 228-2190
CHUCK GRASSLEY, IA
Phone: (202) 224-3744
Fax: (202) 224-6020
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, ME
Phone: (202) 224-5344
Fax: (202) 224-1946
I have only listed their D.C. offices, but if you have time, call their local district offices as well. For inspiration: here is what two of the Democrats said about the American people:
Said Stabenow: "Reading this bill will only confuse peple."
Said Kerry: “Let’s be honest about it, most people don’t read the legislative language.” He added that, in his opinion, the move to "score" the bill and post it on the internet for 72 hours so that the people could read it and contact their
Senators with their opinions was merely a GOP "delay tactic" to avoid passing any "real reform."