Saturday, November 07, 2009

"House Call" This Afternoon, House Voting Tonight

The House of Representatives tonight voted (barely) for the ~2,000 page health care bill after approving language excluding support of abortion from the plan. More on this below, but first this afternoon's rally at the Capitol.

I attended a "House Call" rally this afternoon outside the Capitol building (a short notice follow up to a larger rally held Thursday that I did not attend). Leading Republican House members active in opposing the Pelosi bill spoke. The event climaxed with a dramatic unrolling of the bill with pages taped end-to-end from the lawn all the way up the long set of steps up to the House side of the Capitol.

House members and citizens oppose government health care takeover.

The ~2,000 page bill creeps up the Capitol steps.

Rep. Michele Bachmann meets with a wheel chair bound citizen concerned about the bill.

After the rally, I met with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a rising formidable political leader (who has been drawing some of the same kind of harsh attacks as has Sarah Palin), who was eager to sign my FORMER EMBRYO T-shirt. (I'll order another one (size XXL again to fit over winter clothing) to wear as I can't risk washing out the signature.)

Then I joined a few friends in visiting the offices of our Maryland reps, Van Hollen and Edwards, where we had brief and spirited but respectful discussions with staffers.

Tonight the Pelosi bill passed by 220-215 (with 39 Dems voting against and one Republican voting for). This is not a done deal as no bill has passed the Senate yet, so this debate is far from over.

One significant compromise the House Dem leaders made to get their bill passed was to allow a vote on the Stupak-Pitts amendment to bar abortion coverage in the bill. This passed by a stronger margin than the bill itself, with 64 Dems supporting to make the margin 240-194 (with 1 "present"). This is a significant prolife victory. A bipartisan prolife press conference on C-SPAN now (~12:15 AM Sunday) has members (with diverging views on the overall health care bill) noting the significance of this stand against federal abortion funding.

Of course, the possibility of abortion funding being sneaked back into the final bill plus the unaddressed issues of health care rationing, government control, high cost and impact on medical innovation mean the coming battles over health care require continuing vigilance.

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