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Smith, Baird remain undecided on health care vote

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on March 15, 2010 at 3:31 pm with 12 Comments »
March 15, 2010 3:31 pm

From Les Blumenthal in our D.C. bureau:

WASHINGTON – With a climactic vote on health care legislation expected in the House of Representatives late this week, two Democratic members from Washington state – Adam Smith and Brian Baird – remain undecided on how to vote.

Smith voted for an earlier version of the bill. Baird did not.

As House Democratic leaders and the White House scrambled Monday to secure the 216 votes needed to pass health care legislation, Smith said that while there might be a lot of good things in the measure, “I have not made up my mind.”

Baird, who is not seeking re-election, said he needed to see the actual language in the bill and an accompanying reconciliation bill before he would decide.

“Until I am able to read the new proposal and know the costs, I will not decide on how to vote on passage,” Baird said. “To do so would contradict what I have stood for throughout my congressional career.”

Democratic leaders were optimistic they would secure the votes they need, but they conceded they didn’t have them yet. Baird is one of four Democrats who voted against the original bill they hope to flip.

“That’s four people right there who voted no before,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., told McClatchy last week. “Why don’t we talk about them? Everyone’s talking about who we might lose.”

Baird hinted that the latest version of the bill might be more to his liking.

“The legislation that is currently being discussed in the House of Representatives is far different from the bill I voted on in November 2009,” Baird said in a statement released late Friday. Baird has not been available for an interview despite several requests.

Last year, the House approved its version of the bill by five votes, 220-215, with 39 Democrats opposing the measure. On Christmas Eve, the Senate passed its bill.

The fate of the health care overhaul has been uncertain since a Republican won a special Senate election in Massachusetts, leaving Democrats one vote shy of the 60 needed to overcome filibusters.

Even though the Senate-passed bill was less than popular with House Democrats, their leaders want them to approve it without changes. Then the two chambers would use a reconciliation bill to make changes that House Democrats have insisted on. It will only take 51 votes to get the reconciliation bill through the Senate.

In an interview, Smith said he’d found a “lot of good things” in the Senate bill, including that it was less expensive than the House bill, had better cost containment, was more manageable and didn’t take a major a whack out of Medicare Advantage.

But Smith said the changes anticipated in the reconciliation bill could drive up costs.

A leader of moderate Democrats in the House, Smith was among those invited to the White House last week for a session with President Barack Obama.

“It’s possible I vote for the Senate bill and against reconciliation,” Smith said.

Smith said he wasn’t bothered by Republican criticism that Democrats were using parliamentary maneuvers to pass a health care bill.

“We have not rushed this through,” Smith said, adding that the reconciliation process had been used 22 times before, including the vote to pass the tax cuts sought by then President George W. Bush.

Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. “We have not rushed this through,” Smith said, adding that the reconciliation process had been used 22 times before, including the vote to pass the tax cuts sought by then President George W. Bush.”

    So, Smith, is this just another tax cut? Or, adding more debt to the already bankrupt U.S. ‘Taxpayers’ tomorrow as presented by http://www.usdebtclock.org/ let us know absent all the political mumbo-jumbo political words trappings you present Smith. Thanks.

  2. webtimes22 says:

    They will be on KVI at 5PM listen. Also, Adam Smith is “listening” to voters via a poll on his House website located at:

    http://adamsmith.house.gov/Forms/Form/?ID=672&Preview=true

  3. webtimes22 says:

    If this so important and vital, why do none of the key provission take place until after the next presidential election cycle? Just work on providing us, the citizen, the true ABILITY to address our own needs. Support Dedcut-ABILITY (equal tax treatment); Select-ABILITY (right to chose the content of our plans); Port-ABILITY (right to buy across state lines) and Defense-ABILITY (practical and trageted Tort reform).

  4. malaglot says:

    Reconciliation has NEVER been used in the way the Democrats are attempting to use it right now. Smith is not being completely honest. They are attempting to vote on a reconciliation bill and buried inside is the statement that they deem the senate bill to be passed. In other words they pass the bill in the house without actually voting on it. For Smith to suggest that it’s been done before like this and this is simply business as usual is flat out wrong. Contact Adam Smith’s office and make sure you let him know you know better.

  5. kevin22262 says:

    First off…. to john… How do you think wer got in this debt debt hole we are in? Two main reasons are… the reagan admin with cutting taxes and raising spending and then borrowing. And…. bush jr. For the exact same reasons.

    How worried were all of you “debt is bad” people (which I agree it is) when reagan, bush and 12 years of repub control of congress were in affect? Not a peep… was it because it was for “national security? (“we have always been at war with east asia”)

    Now web… you just spout the right wing talking points which are bunk.

    malaglot … sorry, but the repubs have rammed reconciliation down the throats of the Democrats and this country many times. Those HUGE tax breaks… which by the way went to the RICH and the CORPORATIONS… were opposed by most of the Democrats in the Senate and they were blocking them. Why… because of how much they would end up hurting the economy and raising the national debt!

    I believe dick cheney once said: “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” Dick Cheney told Paul O’Neill during a Cabinet meeting. “We won the (2002) midterms. This is our due.”

    http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0119-06.htm

  6. hreardon says:

    Oh Kevin..
    1. We got into this debt hole primarily through entitlement spending and the inability of both parties to control it.
    2. The levels of debt brought on by the HC bill will be historic in proportion to our GDP. Not to mention the Medicare cuts assumed by the bill which were never enacted (by both parties). How did the initial Medicare budget predictions work out? Who really believes there is a chance this bill will pay for itself as claimed.
    3. Reconcilliation has never been used in this type of massive entitlement spending bill. period.

    Healthcare reform yes.. However, we never seem to ask the question “how much can we afford”

  7. Reaganomics says:

    Kevin22262, you can’t be serious. When you look at the debt we have now you have to give Bush, and a (D) controlled legislature some of the credit, but this clown in the White House makes even Reagan look frugal, and this clown is spending it on things that should be done by charity. The government has got to get out of the money giveaway business. The cold war may have been expensive but it also kept a lot of people that wanted to work at work. The only way we beat the soviets was to out spend them. Who is Nobama trying to outspend? Health care reform has got to start by limiting access and curbing malpractice awards. Those two things will lower health care costs to a point where we can seriously consider reforming the system. There is absolutely no reason for us to provide anything but life sustaining case to illegal aliens. And that care needs to be followed by immediate deportation to their country of origin. Attorney’s fees on malpractice claims need to be capped and if a lawsuit is found to be bogus the attorney needs to be held accountable. Blaming the past President is getting pretty old, at some point Pelosi and Nobama are going to have to take responsibility.

  8. Reaganomics says:

    malaglot, so you disagreed with reconciliation when the Republicans did it (supposedly) then tell us why it is a good idea now? If it was wrong then, it is wrong now. My kids like to make the same argument you just made, “well my sister did it, so why can’t I?”. Pretty childish argument.

  9. Reaganomics says:

    malaglot, sorry I Kevin’s post addressed to you and thought it was your post.

    Kevin my second post was meant for you also.

  10. Baird hinted that the latest version of the bill might be more to his liking.

    “The legislation that is currently being discussed in the House of Representatives is far different from the bill I voted on in November 2009,” Baird said in a statement released late Friday.

    yes, it’s far worse

    ” It’s possible I vote for the Senate bill and against reconciliation,” Smith said.

    Yes, & how much has the health industry “donated” to your coffers, Mr Smith???

    These “conservative” Congressmen should be ashamed of themselves. If they cared at all about the American people we’d have single payer SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Yes, some socialism is a GOOD thing. People’s lives are far more important then corporate profits. Look what Capitalism has gotten us: the Wall Street “Bail Outs”.

  11. Pelosi: “We need to pass the health care bill in order to find out what is in it”.

    Now that say it all within just a few word as said by a person that knows.

  12. Great post can you recommend any forums to join?

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