Iowans split on party lines as House approves health care reform

After many hours of debate, the House of Representatives approved HR 2962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act tonight by a vote of 220-215. In a nice touch, Representative John Dingell (MI-15) presided over the chamber today. He was one of the architects of the original Medicare bill.

President Barack Obama went to the Capitol this morning to urge House Democrats to pass the bill. But as you can see from the roll call, 39 Democrats voted no. All of Iowa’s Democrats voted “aye.” Only one House Republican voted for the bill (Joseph Cao, representing the heavily Democratic LA-02).

I am upset that no House Progressives were allowed to offer amendments today, but Bart Stupak (MI-01) was able to further restrict women’s access to abortion services. His amendment is a very bad deal for women. I’m with Angry Mouse: this is not okay.

The Stupak amendment passed 240-194, gaining 64 Democratic votes (roll call here). That’s almost a quarter of the House Democrats. An embarrassing number of Democrats who aren’t even in the Blue Dog caucus voted for it. As Natasha Chart tweeted tonight, the Stupak amendment is exactly the kind of thing a Democratic majority was supposed to stop from coming to the floor. The DCCC won’t get a dime from me this cycle.

Supposedly Obama told progressives this morning he will try to have the Stupak provision removed from the bill in conference. I would bet money against that happening. I expect to see bipartisan movement to include a similar clause in the Senate health care bill.

According to Jane Hamsher, the AFL-CIO may cut off contributions to Democrats who vote against health care reform. Again, I would bet money against this happening, but some Blue Dogs would have trouble funding their re-election campaigns without support from organized labor.

Speaking of Blue Dogs, I want to give special credit to Leonard Boswell (IA-03) tonight. Unlike most of his fellow Blue Dogs, he voted no on the Stupak amendment and yes on passing the bill.

Bruce Braley (IA-01) noted tonight that we hear a lot of Republican talk about medical liability, but not one word about medical safety.

Also worth noting: the future of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program is uncertain. As fairleft2 notes in this diary, the House bill moves children either to Medicaid or into private plans. It’s not clear whether this provision could pass the Senate.

Meanwhile, a new poll from Virginia suggests opposing the public health insurance option was disastrous for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.

Share your own health care reform thoughts in this thread.

UPDATE: Jacob Hacker, “godfather” of the public health insurance option, thinks the House bill is worth supporting. Whether the public option can survive a House/Senate conference committee is another question. A few days ago the Stupak amendment was considered a “poison pill” that would doom the health care reform effort, but last night House Progressives almost all voted for the bill even after the Stupak amendment passed. I think that signals the death of the “progressive block” strategy for demanding a public option in the final version of health care reform.

  • Letter to Tom Latham

    I’m new and I’m not sure this is right for this blog but please don’t flame me if it’s not.  I received an email from Latham this morning and wanted to post what I wrote to him:

    Good morning!  I was disappointed by Cong. Latham’s decision to vote against the Healthcare bill but I was not surprised.  Frankly, I assumed that he would and I didn’t have strong feelings about this.  

    However, I was outraged to receive an email from Cong. Latham this morning with the “ALL CAPS” header explaining yet again the Republican talking points.  To me, this puts Cong. Latham’s vote as a vote to be a “team player” but the team isn’t Iowa or the people of Iowa’s 4th district but the National Republican Party and their singular goal of making sure nothing gets done during the Obama administration.

    Perhaps if any explanations for Rep. Latham’s vote had referenced actual Iowans or local impact (i.e. at the town hall in Mason City, or the way this would affect the so and so family in Clear Lake) I would be less suspect of Rep. Latham’s intentions. I believe the only reference to Iowa was in Medicare reimbursement and let’s be honest that this was only as a way to smear another Congressman not as a stand alone reason.

    In regards to Rep. Latham’s claims of partisanship on the majority’s part…..I must say that I am probably one of the rare breed that watched the House on CSPAN yesterday (virtually all day) while waiting to see the final vote on both the Stupak ammendment, the Republican alternative, and the final vote on the bill.  What I saw was a Republican congressman shouting “I object” rudely over the women Congressmen trying to get their points into the record.  I saw another Republican Congressman using a baby (not even a relative of his!!) like a prop the same way others were waving around the papers!  How juvenile, disrespectful, and just plain dumb!  I saw Republican congressmen shouting over Rep. Braley (your fellow Iowan) so much that he had to stop his point until they could be silenced like unruly 7th graders. This doesn’t seem like behavior of a team I’d want to join.

    Throughout the hours of watching I went from embarassed to annoyed to appalled to disgusted to saddened. I know it’s ugly to watch the “sausage being made” but this was just so disheartening that there seemed so little regard to actually governing.  I don’t know what happened to the concept of “for the people” but I saw little evidence of that in regards to some of this behavior yesterday.

    In all fairness, I didn’t see Rep. Latham partaking in this “stuff” and I can only hope that he was truly trying to have input and make this bill better.  I didn’t see Rep. Latham on the steps of the Capital with the racist signs and the ones exploiting the Holocaust victims and I can only hope that he was at work trying to do the people’s business not Rep. Boehner’s business.

    My family is self-employed and have insurance through Wellmark.  We are healthy parents with healthy teenage boys and we pay about $14,000 a year for our health insurance.  We’re self-employed so we pay every last cent of it.  It’s about twice what our mortage is and we only have occasional doctor visits.  We have friends in Plymouth that are also self-employed with the same family dynamics and they pay $18,000/year!!!  These aren’t “Cadillac plans”.  These are what we can get.  This is a serious problem for small (really small) business owners and it deserves you and your colleagues to treat it seriously not with props and rude parlimentary wrangling and disrespectful namecalling and rallies.

    Please advise me as to if Rep. Latham took part in Rep. Bachmann’s “press conference” and to where I might find a record of any remarks Rep. Latham made on the House floor concerning the votes yesterday.

    • I don't think Latham was at the press conference

      and I am not sure whether he spoke on the House floor, but I will try to find out.

      I totally agree with KagroX/David Waldman: Republicans keep complaining this bill “penalizes small business,” but the status quo penalizes small business more, and deters people who want to start businesses. I know several people who are trapped in a job because someone in their family has a pre-existing condition.

      My brother is self-employed and also pays through the nose for a policy that doesn’t cover most routine medical expenses.

      • I used to be self-employed

        I used to be self-employed, but I retrained for another career because my health insurance was too expensive.  (And I figured that they would just cancel me if I ever got sick.)

  • Bad Bill

    While I am a supporter of the public option the bill that the house passed is a bad bill. Any bill that includes mandates that force people to buy insurance is a invasion of personal liberty by government.

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