On its third try, the Insurance Department appropriation failed the House again this afternoon, once again drawing 70 votes, needing 75. There were 19 nays, with 11 absent or not voting. House Minority Leader Rep. John Burris rose reluctantly to endorse the bill after he failed for the second time to separate from the bill an objectionable expenditure of federal money to implement federal health care reform. That money had prompted two previous defeats by a Republican minority.
Said Burris: "I wish the bill were different but it's not. We tried to accomplish that, but we didn't. I don't blame anyone for voting no. But where we are in the session, it's important to move on and appropriate the money for the agency even though I have a problem with some of the aspects of the bill."
Rep. Nate Bell of Mena insisted he'd been sent to Little Rock to oppose health care spending no matter the circumstances and urged a vote of no. Rep. Kim Hammer of Benton said his NO vote was a defining moment. Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville said he despised Obamacare, but said "holding up government" was not the proper course.
Lobbying will continue. Will fewer than 30 Republicans shut down a state department, close the private insurance industry and give up $90 million in government and pension funding to accomplish something that even Republican governors across the country have thought foolish? Sounds like some of them are so inclined. See why people are souring on the Tea Party?