by Max Brantley
The wimp U.S. Rep. Mike Ross explains why he'll go in the tank on history. Lameduck U.S. Rep. Marion "Good Riddance" Berry joins him. Some day, as with the lawmakers who opposed Medicare and Social Security, they'll be permanently enrolled in the dishonor roll of cowards in the dustbin of history.
Meanwhile, my question for Mike Ross and Marion Berry (in your thankfully short time remaining) is: Which part of the new legislation will you join with Republicans to repeal? Which parts of expansion of health coverage for the citizens of America do you oppose? If this legislation is so flawed, what do you fix tomorrow by voting with the Party of No?
Speak now against the day, Mike and Marion. Slouch toward Gillett with your head hung in shame, Congressman Berry.
BY THE WAY: Many believe Berry is protecting the candidacy of his preferred successor, top aide Chad Causey, in this vote. What say you, Chad? Are you for health reform or not? If not, vote NO on Chad Causey.
ROSS NEWS RELEASE
U.S. Representative Mike Ross, D-Prescott, will vote against H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or the Senate’s health care reform bill, and H.R. 4872, the Reconciliation Act of 2010, in the House of Representatives on Sunday. If passed by the House, H.R. 3590 will be presented to the President for consideration, where he is expected to sign it into law. The reconciliation package will be sent to the Senate for consideration and, if passed by a simple majority with no changes, it will be presented to the President for consideration.
Before the vote, Ross released the following statement:
“This will be one of the most difficult votes I have ever cast in the House of Representatives because I believe we need health care reform. That’s why I have worked since last summer trying to improve this bill. While we were successful in making some changes, others were not accepted.
“This issue has divided our country in a way that I have not seen in my many years. There are those who have distorted the facts on both sides and special interests have spent millions of dollars trying to scare the American people. I believe my job as your representative is to present the facts, listen to you and serve as your voice in our nation’s capital. You deserve to always know where I stand on the issues and why. Above all, you should always hear the truth from me.
“There are parts of this bill that are good, including much-needed health insurance reforms and making health insurance affordable for the uninsured. On the other hand, many parts of this bill cause me great concern, like telling people they must buy health insurance or be fined, cutting Medicare by more than a half-trillion dollars, increasing taxes and forcing businesses to provide health insurance to their employees. I am also concerned how these new mandates will impact our small businesses as we recover from this economic recession and they attempt to put people back to work.
“Getting our fiscal house back in order is key to our economic future. Therefore, one of my concerns throughout this entire debate has been the impact this legislation will have on future deficits. After careful review and thoughtful analysis, I am unconvinced this bill will adequately address the long-term trend of rising health care costs that burden our government and every Arkansas family.
“Groups on both sides of this issue have heavily pressured me to vote how they wanted. But, my job as your representative is to listen to you—not them. And I have done just that, hosting 34 town hall meetings and four telephone town hall meetings this year alone in each of the 29 counties I represent in the U.S. House of Representatives. An overwhelming majority of you told me that while you support health care reform, you do not believe this bill is right for Arkansas. You told me it is too big and too costly. And, I agree with you. That is why I will vote against the Senate health care reform bill, just as I voted against the House health care reform bill last year. Had we been allowed to vote on the many provisions in this nearly 3,000 page bill separately, I could have supported many of them. Unfortunately, I never had that option.
“I recognize there are some I represent who support this bill and I want them to know that I will continue to work to improve our nation's health care system. As your representative, I pledge to you that I will do all I can to build on the good aspects of this legislation and to improve upon those that cause many of us concern. I will continue working in a bipartisan manner in our nation’s capital to pass common sense reforms that reflect Arkansas values.
BERRY NEWS RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United States Representative Marion Berry (AR-01) released this statement regarding the House passage of H.R. 4872, The Reconciliation Act of 2010 to Amend the Senate Health Care Reform Bill:
"I appreciate and am humbled by the thousands of Arkansans who have called, written, e-mailed, and met with me over the last year to express their concerns about health care in this country. While there seems to me a broad agreement that our current health care system is unsustainable in cost and coverage, I cannot endorse this bill as it is currently written.”
“Throughout this debate, I have stood by my conviction that the Senate health care reform bill does not adequately address the issue of federal funds being used to pay for abortions. Despite the recently announced Executive Order addressing this issue, I remain concerned that this legislation does not go far enough to satisfy my concerns. As a pro-life Member of Congress, I believe that abortion is fundamentally wrong, and taxpayer money should not be allowed to support it.”
“Beyond the issue of abortion, there were several concerns in the bill that I fought for and feel were not addressed properly. There are common sense ideas that would lower costs throughout the system, such as having the government use its bargaining power to negotiate prescription drug prices. Some of my other ideas would increase quality and fairness in our health care provider network by increasing Medicare reimbursement rates for rural providers, who currently are compensated far less than their counterparts in urban areas. This unfair system is forcing our doctors to stop caring for Medicare patients or to leave rural areas completely.”
“I believe in health care reform, I just want it done right. I believe true reform would reduce the deficit and pay for itself from savings from our current system, not from putting more pressure on our hospitals and other providers. As I have said before, if you are willing to say what you are against, you need to be able to say what you are for too. That’s why I introduced my own health care reform bill, H.R. 4813.”
“Although I will vote against this bill, I do hope this is the start of a new path in reforming what many agree is a broken system. It is our duty in Congress to try to work together and keep citizens informed on this issue and other legislation, so that our actions in Washington may successfully reflect the will of the people. My decision is dictated by my conscience and my solemn obligation to follow the voices of my constituents in the First Congressional District of Arkansas, who have honored me with the opportunity to serve them for 14 years.”