December 7, 2009
The Senate has been debating Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) health care bill, the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, (H.R. 3590 PDF, with page numbers), continuously for the past week. Reid even kept the Senate in session this weekend for both Saturday and Sunday to ensure that his key Senators were kept far away from their constituents in their home states.
So far, the Senate has voted on a number of amendments, however, most of the news has centered around amendments that have not yet been offered, as well as what is being discussed behind closed doors. As you know, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) has been a key target to oppose this health care bill from the very beginning. He has publicly stated multiple times since his vote in favor of beginning debate on Harry Reid's bill that he would support a GOP filibuster attempt if the bill does not include "Stupak" language prohibiting abortion coverage-that is, Sen. Nelson has publicly committed to voting NO on the cloture motion to end debate and proceed to final passage if this requirement is not met. Currently, the Senate health care bill allows the public option to include coverage for abortion and allows women who receive government tax credits for insurance to enroll in a plan that covers the procedure, both of which amount to taxpayer funding of abortions on a new, massive scale. The issue of conscience protection for health care providers and Catholic hospitals, for example, would also need to be addressed in a coming pro-life amendment.
As the debate moves forward this week, please BEWARE of two things:
- BEWARE of a compromise on abortion language. Unless the coverage for abortions in the public option and federal funding for abortions beyond the status quo of current law is removed, as well as adding conscience protections for health care providers, it will not be acceptable pro-life language and should be rejected by all pro-life Senators, including Sen. Ben Nelson and any other Senator who believes that it is wrong to massively expand federal funding for abortions in health care legislation.
Aside from the abortion problem, it is also important not to lose focus on the other big issue--the government-run insurance option--that has a handful of "swing-vote" Democrats and pro-abortion, "I voted for the Stimulus"-type of Republicans in closed-door talks working on a grand "compromise."
- BEWARE of announcements of a bi-partisan compromise on the nature of the public option to satisfy the individual tastes of each of the following Senators:
- Nelson (D-NE), Phone: (202) 224-6551, Fax: (202) 228-0012
- Snowe (R-ME), Phone: (202) 224-5344, Fax: (202) 224-1946
- Collins (R-ME), Phone: (202) 224-2523, Fax: (202) 224-2693
- Lieberman (I-CT), Phone: (202) 224-4041, Fax: (202) 224-9750
- Bayh (D-IN), Phone: (202) 224-5623, Fax: (202) 228-1377
- Lincoln (D-AR), Phone: (202) 224-4843, Fax: (202) 228-1371
- Landrieu (D-LA), Phone: (202) 224-5824, Fax: (202) 224-9735
(Please note that Sen. Webb (D-VA) has voted in favor of a number of GOP amendments, thus far).
While you are making your calls, be aware that our overall strategy is not to clean up this bill to make it easier to pass. We want to prevent the fence-sitting Senators from concocting any reasons to vote for it! Although a pro-life amendment is not likely to pass, these "swing-vote Senators" are looking for any reason to support this bill, so it's up to you to tell them that their constituents will not tolerate excuses. Phone your Senators now and tell them-in the words of our famous founder Phyllis Schlafly — "Vote NO on H.R. 3590 for the reason of your choice!"
This week will be an important one in the life of the Senate health care bill, so please continue pressuring your Senators to oppose H.R. 3590. If you live in a state where both of your Senators are firmly committed to voting NO, please forward this action alert to any friends or family you have who live in state with Senators who are either "on the fence" or are leaning in support of the bill, keeping in mind the target states of Maine, Nebraska, Arkansas, Indiana, and Louisiana.
And remember, phone calls are best!
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
- Watch the LIVE Senate health care debate on C-Span!