History was made last night. The House of Representatives approved the Senate's version the Health Care Reform Bill by a vote along party lines of 219-212.
Via Think Progress:
This was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's final push to pass health care legislation (via MSNBC).
[...] “Senator Kennedy wrote that access to health care was the great unfinished business of our society – that is, until today,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Once the bill reached 215 votes, members began chanting “one more vote” and the chamber erupted in applause. Members excitedly counted down the last few seconds of the vote and started began chanting “yes we can.”
Now contrast that with John Boehner negative, red-faced, sore loser of a speech that focused on process as opposed to what the bill has or does have in it.
Also, check out this moment during Rep. Bart Stupak's speech to asnwer Republicans attempts to kill the bill by send the reconciliation package back to committee using a procedure called a motion to recommit:
GOP lawmaker shrieks ‘baby killer’ at pro-life Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak.
As Stupak gave his speech, a Republican lawmaker yelled “baby killer” at him. Murmurs were heard from the Democratic side of the aisle, and a Democratic lawmaker shouted “who said that?” No Republican answered.
"Baby Killer" UPDATE (via Think Progress):This was the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the vote was cast (via MSNBC):Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) admitted today that it was he. In a statement, Neugebauer apologized, but insisted that his “baby killer” rhetoric referred to the bill and were not personally directed at Stupak:Neugebauer is one of the House’s most right wing lawmakers and has espoused birther beliefs.
Last night was the climax of weeks and months of debate on a health care bill that my constituents fear and do not support. In the heat and emotion of the debate, I exclaimed the phrase ‘it’s a baby killer’ in reference to the agreement reached by the Democratic leadership. While I remain heartbroken over the passage of this bill and the tragic consequences it will have for the unborn, I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself.
“I have apologized to Mr. Stupak and also apologize to my colleagues for the manner in which I expressed my disappointment about the bill. The House Chamber is a place of decorum and respect. The timing and tone of my comment last night was inappropriate.”
read the full story....
Also, Rep. David Obey said this about the incident last night:
Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.), who was presiding over the floor when the anonymous Republican member made the outburst, told reporters he knows who the offending lawmaker is but won't name names.
"Members have a right to make an idiot of themselves once without being exposed," he said.
Take note thought... The following 34 turncoat Democrats voted against this historic bill:
Adler, Altmire, Arcuri, Barrow, Berry, Boren, Boucher, Bright, Chandler, Childers, A.Davis, L.Davis, C.Edwards, Herseth Sandlin, Holden, Kissell, Kratovil, Lipinski, Lynch, Marshall, Matheson, McIntyre, McMahon, Melancon, Minnick, Nye, Peterson, Ross, Shuler, Skelton, Space, Tanner, Taylor, Teague.UPDATE on these 34 Democrats (via TPM): Against It: A Look At The 34 Dems Who Voted No On Health Care Reform
The 34 Democrats who voted against health care reform last night are by and large a familiar set. They overlap significantly--though not entirely--with the 39 Democrats who voted against the House health care bill in November. Just as in November, most hail from contested districts, in the south and the midwest. But just as in November, there are some surprises--members you wouldn't normally expect to see voting against legislation so closely associated with the Democratic party.Can you say primaries?
Here was President Obama's Statement:
From the NY Times:
Inside, Democrats hailed the votes as a historic advance in social justice, comparable to the establishment of Medicare and Social Security. They said the bill would also put pressure on rising health care costs and rein in federal budget deficits.
“This is the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century,” said Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House.
Mr. Obama celebrated the House action in remarks at the White House.
“We pushed back on the undue influence of special interests,” Mr. Obama said. “We didn’t give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear. Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things.”
“This isn’t radical reform,” he added, “but it is major reform.”
Here are ten benefits which come online within six months of the President's signature on the health care bill:The House also voted to pass a reconciliation package of fixes to the Senate bill by a vote of 220-211, so now it's up to the Senate not to fuck it up.
- Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday
- Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
- No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
- Free preventative care for all
- Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
- Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
- The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
- Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
- Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
- AND no more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can't lose your insurance because you get sick.
In our community - half-rural and half-suburb -- 50 community health centers will receive funding to provide health and preventive services to people with no access right now. And that's just one benefit. They're all valuable.
Via TPM: Reid: Senate Will 'Complete Our Work On This Historic Effort'
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released the following statement tonight about the House's historic health care vote. Here's the full text.
"Today, over a half million Nevadans are a step closer to quality, affordable health care. Tens of thousands of Nevada small businesses are a step closer to getting critical relief to support health care for their employees. Over 200,000 Nevada seniors are a step closer to a stronger Medicare program that puts money back in their pockets instead of padding insurer profits. This story can be told all over America, and it represents the real impact of today's passage of health reform in the House.
"I commend Speaker Pelosi and her team for leading passage of this common sense legislation that puts Americans back in control of their own health care, lowers skyrocketing costs, reduces the deficit, protects seniors and curbs insurance company abuses. She and her colleagues in the House understand that this was never about politics; it has always been about people who are struggling every day to keep their families healthy without going broke. This is about the scores of people we hear from every day who need greater security and stability in their health care.
"As the Senate prepares to complete our work on this historic effort, Senate Democrats reaffirm our commitment to reform because we know it's good for middle-class families, seniors and small businesses in Nevada and all across America."
Here's TPM's Josh's Marshall:
Even before the vote actually occurred, conservative David Frum declared the inevitable pass of this bill was not Obama's "Waterloo," as Confederate Senator Jim DeMint declared several months ago, but the GOP's (h/t Jed Lewison):Results Are All That Matter
Today, when David Frum wrote that this was turning out to be the GOP's Waterloo, he had two interlocking points -- one focused on policy, another political.
The US has had several runs with major pieces of social legislation. And the record is that they don't get repealed. They're expanded and become embedded in the national political economy. That was what was at the heart of Bill Kristol's famous (or infamous) memo on reform from 1994. Once Health Care reform is passed; the middle class will like it. And there will be no repealing or doing away with it. And its success would create a new generation of Democrats. That was his fear.
To that end, Frum's policy point was, who cares if the Republicans take back Congress? Majorities come and go. But reform is permanent. For conservatives it's a catastrophic development and if they'd actually been part of the dialog they probably could have gotten a bill much more to their liking. The second point is political, though he's less clear in this case. Republicans, he says, are probably overestimating their chances this fall in any case.[snip]
Again, I don't want to paint any rosy pictures. And, as I said, I don't want to hazard any predictions. But I think this conventional wisdom is quite mistaken. Hard fought victories don't deplete political capital; they build it. And political wins themselves often have a catalyzing effect that shapes political opinion far more than we realize.
Make no mistake, it's a genuinely historic moment, a realization that only now seems to be dawning on people. And expect to have political repercussions far greater than people expect. But as I wrote earlier, even if they lose their majorities in November, they'll be able to say: This is what we used these majorities to do. And it was worth it.
Former Bush speechwriter David Frum says that while he opposes the health care reform plan, its passage will represent a major defeat for the Republican Party. In his words, it will be the GOP’s "Waterloo."We're not done yet, as Rep. Alan Grayson reiterates in this DKos post from yesterday: A Near-Death Experience, and On From Here
Frum’s key point:read more...
Those of us who said there was a deal to be done, that there are a lot of parts of this bill that look familiar, that look like Mitt Romney’s plan, that look like plans Republicans proposed in 1993 and 1994, they look like things that were drafted at the Heritage foundation in 1990 and 1991, we can work with this, there are things we don’t like, [but] President Obama will pay a lot maybe for 20 or 30 Republican votes, let’s deal — that was shut down, we went the radical way, looking for Waterloo, and it looks like we arrived at Waterloo.
...Some of the Republican leadership like Jim DeMint, I think did play a very hard-line role. Some of our leaders were trapped. They were trapped by voices in the media that revved the Republican base into a frenzy that made dealing impossible. I mean, you can’t negotiate with Adolf Hitler, and if the President is Adolf Hitler, then obviously you can’t negotiate with him. So some of the blame has has got to go to those who said, who got the psychology of the party to a point where a lot of good people, reasonable people were trapped.
...We are encouraging a mood of radicalism in the party that is not just uncivil, that’s not the problem, the problem is it makes you stupid. It makes you make bad decisions, it leads you to think that President Obama with 53% of the vote is as beatable in 2009 as President Clinton with 42% of the vote in 1993, and that’s obviously not true.
I support , and health care for all American. For you. For me. And for sure, for my five young children, and yours, too. The supposed "sins" of joblessness, homelessness and poverty, those "sins" of the parents, should never descend on the children.
I'm fighting for a decent life for all, especially our children. That's why on today's health care reform bill. It's an historic first step. Historic.
But we're not done. The framework for a comprehensive health care system is in place. Now we must finish the job.
Our Medicare You Can Buy Into Act now has over and at WeWantMedicare.com. It's a simple bill, to let you and me buy into Medicare. You want it, you buy it, you got it.
Oh, and check out John McCain's 'get of my lawn" reaction. He's the biggest sore loser in modern American history: McCain repulsed by ‘euphoria’
One last thing, AmericaBlog's y reminds us what the 'Republican Health Care Plan' was:
Let's not forget the 'Republican Health Care Plan'
This is probably a good time to review the GOP health care plan, which Rep. Alan Grayson exposed last September:UPDAT I: Woolsey To Introduce Public Option Bill ASAP (via Mother Jones):
Liberal legislators are among those who cheered the loudest for the passage of the Democratic health care bill on Sunday—but they're not done yet. Lynn Woolsey, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said after the vote that she would soon advance a separate bill for a strong public option.
"I'll introduce a robust public option the day that the President signs this legislation into law," Woolsey said as she left the House floor on Sunday evening. "We have more work to do, and we will do it."
Woolsey said that the other members of the progressive caucus would support the bill to create a government-run health insurance plan, but added they hadn't signed onto the proposal yet. She noted that other members of the caucus would be working on separate items "immediately." Though she didn't give details, such proposals are likely to include a repeal of the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies and other measures that had been dropped in order to woo moderate and conservative Democrats.read more...
Matt Yglasias' beautiful thoughts on this historic moment:
Now that it’s done, Barack Obama will go down in history as one of America’s finest presidents. It’s always possible of course that, like LBJ, he’ll get involved in some unrelated fiasco that mars his reputation. But fundamentally, he’s reshaped the policy landscape in a way that no progressive politician has done in decades.
Under the circumstances, it’s in some ways crazy to realize the scope of things still on the congress’ plate. The House has already passed major legislation dealing with climate change and financial regulation, and the president is also committed to significant reform of K-12 education and the immigration system.
The Washington Note's Steve Clemon's sends this congratulation message:
Anyone watching the health care debate unfold this past year couldn't help but note that it had the feel of a badly run, badly managed sports season in which the President's team nonetheless is going to end up holding the trophy cup.UPDATE IV:
Some time between 6 pm and midnight eastern, there will be a vote in the House of Representatives that passes health care reform. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is already getting rave reviews in the media for taking a dead health care package and breathing life back into it and beating and kicking the legislation through a very tough crowd in her House of Representatives.
Pelosi deserves the praise.
President Obama is said not to be really turned on to a challenge unless he is being tested and feels like he is losing. It's said -- by chroniclers like Richard Wolffe in his book Renegade: The Making of an American President -- that Obama then decides to get on his game, and change things up on his team and in his approach, and then really pushes hard.
This is exactly what President Obama did on health care -- and he too deserves huge credit.
Congratulations President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and others on the White House team for what looks to be a victory tonight -- even Rahm (!).
Think Progress has a great roundup of all the naysayers who declared health care reform dead:
HuffPo's Sam Stein has his list as well:
Anthony Weiner just posted this on Daily Kos: Putting pressure on the Senate
We made historic progress, but this fight isn't over. Now we must put pressure on the Senate to take up every single one of our improvements to their bill.
I know that, even with the fixes, this bill was not close to what many of us wanted. We didn't get a chance to include a public option, even though I still believe it could have carried a majority in the Senate.
But I also believe that we could not afford to pass up this opportunity. The current bill will ensure that 32 million people without health insurance gain coverage. It will save $1.2 trillion. It will end the worst insurance company abuses. And it will create jobs at a time when we desperately need them.
This was not the best bill that we could have passed, but I am proud of what we achieved in the face of a Republican opposition that relied on the worst kind of lies and millions of dollars of insurance industry money poured through the halls of Congress.
We made historic progress, but this fight isn't over. Now we must put pressure on the Senate to take up every single one of our improvements to their bill.
Check out this compliation of media reactions to the passage of the bill (via DKos' DemFromCT): The Narrative Changes