"When history calls, history calls." That is what Senator Olympia Snowe said as she voted yes on the Baucus bill today. She also made perfectly clear that she was in no way committing herself to voting yes on the Senate floor once a bill is actually written and brought to vote. The bill goes to be welded together with the Dodd bill out of the other Senate committee and then to reconciliation with the House bill that the Senate members have mostly all said is too far-reaching for enough yes votes to pass in the Senate.
These are interesting times.
Contrary to what the ugly voices would have you believe, Republicans want health care reform. We do not, however, want the entire system to be tossed out and re-worked as a federal entitlement program. So, to the far left, Republicans are mean and evil - one rookie congressman from Florida, speaking on the floor of the House, said Republicans simply want you to hurry up and die, should you become ill. Who would seriously work with an imbecile such as this guy? He deserves to be shunned.
Senator John Cornyn has written an interesting op-ed explaining his opposition to the Baucus bill. He, along with the other Republicans on the Finance Committee voted no today, except for Senator Snowe. He speaks of the hidden costs in the bill that will squeeze precious dollars from every Texans family budget. While the CBO scoring of the 'concepts' of the bill -as no legislative language has been produced - show it to be at the cost of $829 billion, it will really cost $1.8 trillion when fully implemented. $1.8 trillion in a new entitlement program when we already have a head scratching, panic inducing federal deficit.
"My colleagues and I offered several amendments that would have improved the bill. We fought to protect Medicare Advantage, and eliminate the Medicare panel that would empower bureaucrats to make coverage decisions. We tried to reform Medicaid before forcing more Americans into it. We sought to lower costs on small businesses, and enact meaningful medical liability reform. Many of our amendments would have helped President Obama keep his promises to the American people, including those related to keeping what you have, taxes on the middle class, federal funding of abortions, and benefits to illegal immigrants. Yet most of these amendments were rejected on party-line votes."
"Perhaps most discouraging was the defeat of the first amendment Republicans offered to ensure a more transparent process. Sen. Jim Bunning and I proposed a 72-hour waiting period before we could vote on the bill. During those 72 hours, the actual legislative text, not just conceptual language, would have been available on the committee's website for the public to see, as well as a final price tag from the CBO. Instead we will vote on a concept, not the actual bill."
Voting on a concept, not an actual bill, on legislative 'concepts' that will affect 1/6 of our GNP. Are you kidding me? Imagine the uproar from those so indignant with Republicans if the shoe was on the other foot. What is everyone so afraid of to be voting against transparency. Wasn't transparency promised to us by President Obama and the Democratic leadership - as they expected us to all believe the Republicans were not when they were in charge.
If so much money will be found in Medicare abuse, why isn't it already being tackled? The reason is - it never materializes in the numbers forecast. Why are Democrats so eager to diminish Medicare Advantage benefits - the benefit that closes the hole in coverage for so many senior citizens - particularly rural senior citizens? And, Senator Cornyn is correct in opposition to this all being rushed through on a bogus deadline.
Senator Snowe will, no doubt, become the target from much ire from her fellow Republicans. That will be too bad. She stated that she was voting yes today in committee to get the process moving forward. Yes, the vote could have had the same effect without any Republican votes in the affirmative but she was making a statement. In the long run, it will be a good thing. In the mean time, she has committed to not supporting a public option, the government entitlement program. That is the most important part for Republicans. She maintains the integrity of her word.
So, to my fellow Republicans, I would say to just take a breath. This is a very long process. We are nowhere near the finish line with this bill. All together, there are five bills between the House and the Senate that will have to be meshed together. Blue Dog Democrats are the major sticking point in the process for Democrats. They are a party divided. I say let them implode from within. The President went out of his way to compliment Senator Snowe. He is a politician. He knows a 'reform' of this magnitude with only one party supporting it will turn out very badly in the end.
Let's just breath. Let's encourage our Republican politicians to continue the good fight.