By Libby Casey
In a historic vote last night, the U-S House of Representatives passed legislation that will overhaul the nation’s health care system.
On this vote the yeas are 219, the nays are 212, the motion to concur in the senate amendment is adopted, without objection the emotion to reconsider is laid on the table.
Thirty Four Democrats sided with Republicans to vote no, but Democratic leadership got three votes more than they needed for passage. Alaska Congressman Don Young joined with all other Republicans in voting against it.
I just think it’s too bad for the country, if this thing was to be implemented. I’ve said all along awfully hard to undo what’s being done. I know people say can you repeal it. Well I think the only way you can realistically repeal it cause Obama will be president for two more years, if we take the majority, would be in fact defund them. Which I think we could do and in fact we would do.
House members worked throughout the weekend to either push for or fight the health care bill. Democratic leaders decided NOT to use a procedural move called “deeming,” by which they could have deemed the senate version approved without actually voting on its content. Instead they led a straight “up or down” vote on the bill, and a second, smaller bill of changes.
Outside the Capitol thousands of protesters gathered throughout the weekend – the majority angrily against the bill, but some also in favor. They shouted over each other on the Capitol grounds Sunday as the vote neared:
The demonstrations reached a tense pitch on Saturday, when some Tea Party protesters hurled racial insults at African American Democratic members of Congress, and reporters present said someone spit on a black Congressman. Protesters also shouted anti-gay taunts at Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank.
Congressman Young says that behavior was uncalled for and he didn’t witness anything like that.
He says on the positive side, he’s glad so many Americans were on hand over the weekend to be heard – and he hopes they take action at the polls this fall.
You know I love the people protesting, I admire them for what they’re doing, I just hope they don’t go home and forget this vote. Get fired up, organized, and get rid of the scoundrels.
The final nail-biter came down to a block of anti-abortion Democrats, led by Michigan’s Bart Stupak (STEW-pack) who agreed last night they would vote for the bill once President Obama pledged to sign an executive order, saying that long-standing restrictions against using federal funds for abortions will stay in place. Congressman Young says he doesn’t buy the president’s promise:
The anti abortion group caved today, I think they’re taking an awful risk on believing the president when he says he’s gonna issue an executive order which has no value. If he does it, I don’t think he will, if he does it it can be overturned by action of congress or by another president. And so what do they gain other than a short reprieve. But that’s their business and I won’t tell them what to do and I don’t try to.
President Obama spoke from the White House last night, saying Americans can now know illness and accidents won’t endanger their dreams.
Most importantly, today’s vote answers the prayers of every American who has hoped deeply for something to be done about a health care system that works for insurance companies, but not for ordinary people.
Congressman Young says he supports some elements of health care legislation including banning insurance companies from denying people with pre-existing conditions, and letting people enter coverage pools, but he says the Democratic bill goes too far, is too big and costly, and will bog down government.
If the America public decides to buy this program, then we’ve done our best job to try & explain it to them, and if we weren’t successful that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
The main bill passed by the House last night now goes to the President for his signature… the smaller reconciliation bill goes to the Senate, which is expected to take it up tomorrow.