October 2, 2009
After two weeks of consideration and votes on amendments to the Baucus health care reform "concept" in the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has expressed his intention to get this bill to the floor for debate and a vote as quickly as possible. Although the committee markup has been completed, the final committee vote to advance the Baucus bill to the Senate floor is expected to occur next week on Tuesday, October 6th, and a floor debate and vote could happen soon after.
To wrap up what happened over the past two weeks in the Senate Finance Committee, here is a brief list of some important amendments that were REJECTED:
- Grassley (R-IA) amendment to require that all immigrants, both legal and illegal, prove their identity with photo identification when signing up for federal healthcare programs.
(Please note: The Baucus bill only requires "verification" of name, place of birth, and a Social Security number. Without photo identification, these requirements are insufficient as they do nothing to prevent defrauding the government by using false or stolen identities or Social Security numbers to obtain benefits. Claims that the Baucus bill provides adequate and effective I.D. verification are false.)
- Hatch (R-UT) amendment to prohibit federal funds from being used for elective abortions and health plans that cover such abortions.
- Hatch (R-UT) amendment to ensure respect for the conscience rights of health care workers who choose not to perform abortions because of moral or religious objections.
- Bunning (R-KY) amendment to require that final legislative language and a final CBO score be made publicly available on the committee website for at least 72 hours prior to voting.
- Ensign (R-NV) amendment to require any "czar" handling health care issues to be subject to the Senate confirmation process.
- Cornyn (R-TX) amendment to ensure that nothing requires individuals or employers to change the coverage they currently have.
- Enzi (R-WY) amendment to allow individuals who would otherwise be enrolled in Medicaid through the expansion of the program the right to choose to enroll in private coverage.
To make matters worse, Democrat Majority Leader Reid announced this week that he is cancelling the upcoming Columbus Day Recess (October 12th) which would have been time set aside for Senators to return to their states for interaction with their constituents-you! Reid attempted to frame his move as an act of concern for health care reform and said, "I think with health care, which is really beginning to ferment, it wouldn't be right for us to be gone."
Of course, Americans will not be easily fooled. Reid's decision to cancel the planned recess (or "district work period") is nothing more than a contrived effort to dodge the American grassroots' questions and concerns about this health care plan at Town Hall meetings.
Various reports are indicating that Harry Reid may try to bring the health care bill to the floor to begin debate as early as next Thursday, October 8th! The Senate Finance Committee's final vote is expected for Tuesday the 6th, so please continue targeting those Senators who sit on the committee. Please concentrate your calls on Monday and Tuesday of next week.
Please call (remember, phone calls are the most effective) your Senators' Capitol Hill offices as well as their various local/state offices to voice your opposition!