Since the beginning of the debate on health care reform, I have maintained a pledge that I would not support any health care reform bill that includes federal funding for abortion, and I stand by that pledge today. The original House bill language (Capps Amendment) did not meet this standard, and so I opposed that language. I voted for the Stupak Amendment-the only alternative offered at the time-because it ensured no federal funding of abortions, even though it also went beyond the current federal standard (Hyde Amendment) to prevent Americans from purchasing private insurance with their own dollars.
As health care experts and pro-life leaders agree, the abortion language in the Senate bill upholds the Hyde Amendment standard. The Senate health care bill prevents federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortions, as the Catholic Hospital Association and legal experts have recently stated and as my own research has confirmed.
Furthermore, several key yet unadvertised provisions of the bill are likely to reduce the number of abortions in this country in ways that move beyond politics toward a real impact on the culture of life in our country, such as those that provide $250 million for programs to support vulnerable pregnant women and increase the adoption tax credit, also making it refundable, so that lower income families can access it fully.
I have tended to avoid the labels pro-life and pro-choice-often drawing ire from both sides of this debate-because I believe those labels serve to end debate rather than start us on a path towards solutions. I understand why many pro-choice groups consider the Senate language a major setback, but I made this pledge to the people I represent. Mired as we are in the issue of taxpayer dollars in this debate, we have not been discussing how this bill can reduce abortions. My hope is that, after this debate in the health care bill, lawmakers will come together to support a culture of life in their policy-making, including improving pre- and post-natal care.
I have plenty of serious problems with the Senate bill and, until I see the final language, I cannot take a position on final passage. But the existing language on abortion in the current Senate bill meets the pledge I made to ensure no federal funding for abortion in this health care bill.
... Scott Rigell, a local auto dealership owner with long ties to the Pat Robertson elements of the Christian Right. Perusing Rigell's campaign website it looks amazingly much like Bob McDonnell's did and even talks about " I WILL SERVE EVERY PART OF OUR COMMUNITY." But on closer inspection, it be comes clear that Scott Rigell will serve you only if you belong to a particular part of the community. And gays clearly have no place in that community. Repeated requests for a clarification of Ridgell's position on ENDA and DADT repeal have gone unanswered. Equally telling, the page on his website dealing with "family values" is something that The Family Foundation might have written (who knows, maybe it did)...Also, here's Rigell speaking at a Tea Party event (he misspells the word "anniversery" in the title) and basically declaring himself to be a Tea Party candidate. That's fine, but then why is he running as a Republican and why is he pretending to be a moderate and not another Ken Cuccinelli? Quick, someone ask Rigell if he thinks President Obama was born in the United States or whether global warming is real. The answers should be fascinating.
Check out the video, starting around 4:10, and watch as Keith Fimian rips into his Republican rival, Pat Herrity. Although Fimian doesn't name him, it's crystal clear who he's talking about - trading off his name, next step up the ladder, etc. Boy, is this 11th CD Republican primary going to be fun! :)
By the way, I love how Republicans consider "Barney Frank and Chris Dodd" - two smart, effective, progressive Congressmen - to be epithets. Wouldn't it make more sense to compare people you don't like to Eric Can'tor and John BONER? Heh.
But the point is...the crowd of which I speak -- the insiders, the status quo, the good old boy network - you know, they live off their political connections, they trade off their names. They are opportunistically ambitious, and all they care about is moving up on the next rung of the political ladder. And that is not what we need now, it is dangerous what we have. Look at where we are. They will tell you they have experience. "I've got experience," you know. Your experience means nothin'! Barney Frank and Chris Dodd have experience! Look at where we are.
Now, with (Democratic) health care reform legislation looking to be on the verge of passage, I was trying to decide if I'd heard anyone make any sensible (Republicans/right-wing) arguments in the past year against it. So far, I'm not doing too well on that score. For instance:
*"Death panels!" There aren't any and never were any. This one is nothing more than tinfoil hat territory and paranoid ranting, not to mention an automatic disqualification of Sarah Palin for President for ever claiming such a thing.
*"Socialized medicine!" To the contrary, what this legislation actually does is expand the market for private insurance. What it doesn't do is let everyone by into Medicare, create a single-payer system (which many on the left want to do), or even create a public option so that people aren't forced to buy private health insurance from companies whose business model is "health care for profit." That model, unfortunately, isn't challenged by current health care reform legislation. If anything, it's entrenched.
*"It will ruin the 'best health care system in the world!'" Actually, the United States ranks #41 in the world on infant mortality, #46 on life expectancy, 37th in overall performance and 72nd (out of 191) "by overall level of health." So much for that "argument."
*"The bill is so long!" Yes, health care reform legislation has many pages, but that's because the U.S. health care system is large and complicated more than anything else. Also, it's worth noting that 5 of the 10 longest bills over the last decade were written by Republicans. That includes "No Child Left Behind Act" by none other than John Boehner, who now likes to use health care reform legislation as a combination doorstop/prop. Whatever.
*"They're ramming it through!" Hahahahaha. Sorry, but I just can't help laughing at a claim that an issue that's been debated for decades, including the intensive "debate" of the past year, is being "rammed through." Also, the concept that a bill which has already passed the Senate with 60 votes ("filibuster proof" majority) and the House of Representatives is being "rammed" anywhere. More broadly, this is a case of "elections have consequences," just as Bush's tax cuts for rich people and war against Iraq were the consequences of electing him. The only difference is that Bush didn't run on invading Iraq, while Democrats clearly ran in 2008 on reforming health care. It's called a "mandate," and it's also called "Democracy."
*"It costs too much!" Of course, the fact is that the current "health care for profit" system costs too much, and also that rates are rising through the roof. Sorry, can't blame this one on government; instead, it's the wonders of the "free market," combined with stupid policies that subsidize junk food and sedentary lifestyles that encourage obesity, that are doing this. In reality, Democratic health care reform legislation will reduce the deficit, but admittedly it won't "bend the cost curve" sufficiently. That's one reason I support a public option, which of course has mainly been opposed by...wait for it...the same Republicans who say this "costs too much!" Nice, huh? The bottom line is that not doing anything about soaring health care expenditures in this country will bankrupt us. This bill will help, although admittedly not enough. Still, it's a start, which is far more than the "Party of No" has offered.
*"It's unconstitutional for government to force people to buy health insurance!" We'll let the courts fight this out, but for now I'll defer to Stuart Taylor, who writes:
The answers are yes, yes, and that's the point! according to most of the experts who have weighed in on whether the Supreme Court would uphold a mandate for individuals to buy comprehensive health insurance unless they're already covered by employer-based plans. They cite the justices' very broad reading since the New Deal of Congress's powers to regulate interstate commerce and to tax and spend.
So much for that argument, in other words.
Anyway, those are just a few of the "arguments" against health care reform legislation I've heard over the past year. As far as I can determine, none of them hold any water. That, of course, hasn't stopped the Eric Cantors and John Boehners (and Ken Kookinellis) of the world from making the "arguments." Fortunately, we're not "mandated" to listen to these guys.
P.S. There are arguments from the left against the current health care reform legislation, mainly that it doesn't go far enough, that it entrenches the health-care-for-profit system, that it doesn't enact "single payer," that it doesn't give people a "public option," etc. I agree with most of these, but don't believe they're sufficient in the end to oppose passing the current bill. What we need to do is do this, then improve it down the road, first and foremost by giving people a public option.
Let's get this done. Right. Now.
Unlike Republican leaders, Virginians are more concerned with their jobs and their children's schools than with pursuing conspiracy theories and a narrow social agenda. But in the last month, under the leadership of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Governor Bob McDonnell, Virginia is rapidly becoming a national laughingstock.
Attorney General Cuccinelli owes Virginians an explanation for his out-of-whack priorities. While our Commonwealth struggles with a $4.2 billion dollar deficit, the Attorney General has shown that he's willing to use the resources of his taxpayer-funded office to push his own radical agenda. Virginians shouldn't be asked to foot the bill for Ken Cuccinelli's irresponsible behavior and missplaced priorities.
The Attorney General should pledge today not to spend a dime of our tax dollars pursuing ridiculous conspiracy theories about President Obama. We hope Governor McDonnell is making plans to rein in his 2009 ticketmate and protect Virginians' money from being spent on Ken Cuccinelli's extreme political agenda.
UPDATE: Politico reports that Cooch has issued a statement.
I absolutely believe that President Obama was born in the United States. I don't buy into the claims that he wasn't. On the recording, I was asked a hypothetical legal question, and I gave a hypothetical legal answer in response. As I said previously, this issue was not a part of my campaign, and it is not part of what I am doing now as attorney general.What a bunch of bull, "hypothetical legal answer" my a**.
This email is being sent with the intent of informing you of troubling events that have developed over the last few weeks involving a fellow Democratic Committee (Stafford County) and what actions the Robinson campaign intends to use to remedy the situation.
It is the opinion of the Robinson campaign that the caucus process in Stafford County was "hijacked" by a small group of Krystal Ball supporters and the democratic process was circumvented with the intention of ensuring that the Krystal Ball campaign not only won a majority of delegates but left the caucus with a "slate" of supporters for Krystal Ball.
Once again, Ken Cuccinelli demonstrates why: a) many of us think he's batshit crazy; b) why Democratic activists worked so hard to prevent him from becoming Attorney General of Virginia; c) why he's a complete and utter embarrassment to our Commonwealth; and d) politically speaking, why he's the "gift that keeps on giving" for Democrats. This time, thanks to a great scoop by NLS, Cooch reveals himself as someone who seriously questions whether Barack Obama was born in the United States.
Q: Because we are talking about the possibility that he was not born in America.Sad to say, it's not even the least bit shocking that a guy who denies climate change, tries to make it easier for people to discriminate against gay people, claims that Virginia can disobey federal laws it disagrees with, believes the government is tracking his kids via Social Security numbers, and talks to a toy elephant named "Ron" would also buy into Orly Taitz-level crazy conspiracy theories like "birtherism." What next, is Cooch going to reveal himself as a 9/11 "truther" as well, like Debra Medina? Whoops, better not give him any ideas; he's got more than enough of those already. My god, four years of this lunatic as AG? We're so screwed.
Cooch: Right. But at the same time under Rule 11, Federal Rule 11, we gotta have proof of it.
Q: How can we get proof?
Cooch: Well... that's a good question. Not one I've thought a lot about because it hasn't been part of my campaign. Someone is going to have to come forward with nailed down testimony that he was born in place B, wherever that is. You know, the speculation is Kenya. And that doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility.