Congressman "Rick" Boucher
In light of Boucher’s Tuesday Town Hall meeting in Pulaski County this repost of Boucher’s action as culled from C-SPAN on July 31 bears repeating:
July 31 – House Energy and Commerce Committee adjourns at 9:10 PM Friday evening. Health Care vote passes from committee on a vote of 31-28. Rep. “Rick” Boucher 9th District again votes “no” on the health care bill. Other Democrats voting “no” were Barrow (GA), Stupack (Michigan), Matheson (Utah), and Melancon (LA).
July 30 – The Energy and Commerce Committee slogged through amendments to the public health care bill where the Democrats hold a majority.
Texas Republican Congressman Michael Burgess introduced an amendment to eliminate the “government controlled public option” from the health care bill.
After much rhetoric the voting began and as might be expected the vote fell mostly along party lines. That is except for Democrat “Rick” Boucher of Virginia’s 9th District. Boucher was never in his seat for the entire committee proceedings. He only poked his head in the room to vote. This time he stood by the doorway raising his hand gesturing with two fingers voting with an unexpected resounding “yes” to removing the public option from the health care bill. The government public option is the “guts” of the bill. I had to watch the replay of Boucher’s vote to believe it.
Boucher’s vote is puzzling in light of the Remote Area Medical (RAM) that provides free health care services for the uninsured in Boucher’s region. There was record attendance by those whose only source of health care is this once a year outreach. It was held at the Wise County Fair Grounds in Wise, VA on July 24, 25, and 26.
Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas spoke up that he along with Boucher was formulating a plan that included “pooling.” Whether it is a public pool and how many can swim in it – it is hard to say. There is a mutation of pooling possibilities. Small businesses could pool together for negotiating leverage. With pools people could leak out like a sieve.
What is Boucher up to? Why did he vote “yes” to remove the public option? Perhaps its payback for being shuffled out of the chairmanship of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee by Congressman Henry Waxman of California. Waxman is now chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee that convened last night.
Waxman is a shrewd politician. As he realized the votes were not there to defeat the amendment to remove abortion from the health care bill he changed his “no” vote to “yes.” The amendment passed with Waxman’s last second change of vote.
Later Waxman’s reason for his flip-flop became clear. He brought the amendment back with “a motion to reconsider.” This parliamentary trick can only be used by a legislator when their vote is in the prevailing side.
In the interim Congressman Bart Gordon of Tennessee had a change of heart. His “yes” vote flipped to a “no.” Congressman Zack Space of Ohio who did not vote the first time came in to add his “no” vote. The amendment was narrowly defeated 30-29. With this round Waxman kept his “no” vote and abortion procedures were retained in the health care bill.
What a reality show it was on C-SPAN. It only got better from there.
Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York with his Brooklyn tough-guy demeanor “double-dog-dared” the Republicans to vote for his amendment to dismantle Medicare. Weiner only offered the amendment to make the point that Republicans were being hypocritical in their rhetoric about a “government sponsored public health care option” saying “if you don’t like this public option then you don’t want Medicare.” He demanded a roll-call vote and after some wild banter back and forth the amendment failed unanimously. Weiner voting against his own amendment.
Congressman Barton of Texas called for a “point of order” saying “don’t you have to vote for your own amendment?”
You can’t make this stuff up! It starts again at 10:00 am Friday and “will go as long as it takes,” said Chairman Waxman.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Commentary, Politics
Tags: congress, health, party_politics