There’s less than half an hour left of general debate on the House government health care takeover bill. *Update* More time for general debate. Govtrack says another House cmte gets time.
Next, there will be debate on the Kabuki Stupak abortion funding measure (which GOP leader Boehner exposed in his exchange with Charlie Rangel this afternoon). As I noted in my p revious liveblogging post, Boehner got Rangel to admit that there are NO guarantees that Stupak amendment will survive House-Senate negotiations.
After the Stupak amendment vote, there will be debate on the GOP alternative.
Then, the final vote is scheduled late into the night.
I am going to be offline for the next few hours speaking at a Foundation for Life event in Sugar Land, Texas.
Our intrepid guest blogger Doug Powers will be here to pick up liveblogging of the House debate.
Right now, members of the Congressional Black Caucus are on parade supporting the move toward single-payer and enshrining health care as a right.
Folks on the Hill now report that 33 Democrats are opposing Pelosicare.
Meantime, chew on this:
Later, Mr. Obama said he recognized that lawmakers were weary. “It’s tempting to say, ‘I’m tired, it’s hard, I’m getting beat up back in the district, it’s just not worth it,’” he said.
But he told Democrats that they must act now. “On a policy basis, if we do not get it done this year, we will not get it done anytime soon,” he said.
The president also singled out Representative Bill Owens, the newly-elected Democrat from a historically Republican district in New York, who was sworn into office just on Friday. Mr. Obama noted that Mr. Owens would support the health care bill even though it might not be popular at home.
“Think about Bill Owens,” Mr. Obama said. “He could have dodged it. But he didn’t. And guess what? Bill is sitting right here.”
TCOT Report responds:
From the start of his campaign on August 10 until an election eve debate on October 30, Owens adamantly opposed the type of public option that is contained in HR 3962, the Pelosi bill the House is voting on later today.
Owens announced qualified support for the “current bill” in an October 30 debate less than 84 hours before the polls opened. His statement of support was lost in the ensuing melodrama when Republican Dede Scozzafava withdrew from the race the next day, and then switched allegiances and endorsed him rather than the Conservative Doug Hoffman.
In his statement today lauding Owens, President Obama unwittingly confirmed what had been reported here earlier today–that the voters of the 23rd Congressional District had been misled throughout the campaign by Bill Owens that he opposed the Pelosi public option Health Care bill, and that, had Mr. Owens’ been honest with the voters throughout the entire campaign he would not have won the special election.
Good evening all! I’ll be sitting in a bit tonight for Michelle, and we’ll get into it mostly once a vote starts, provided that happens tonight.
I’ve been listening quite a bit to the debate, and I have yet to hear one Rep. yield back the remainder of our money.
Enough of the “dropped and denied coverage” tripe. Between the top seven private insurance companies and Medicare, the highest percentage of dropped or denied claims comes from the program that’s run by the government.
Update: 9:29 p.m. — The floor speeches continue. John Boehner is doing a good job of outlining the cost of this bill in terms of jobs, mandates, taxes, fines, penalties, etc. After all, where there’s a fine, there must be a penalty for not paying it. It’s clear that Pelosi gave some members too much time to read the bill.
Also, Rep. John Dingell from my state of Michigan is spending five minutes serving as an example for term limits while pushing Obama/Pelosicare — but mostly the term limits thing.
10 p.m.: Vote on the Stupak amendment going on now, which would bar federal funds in the health care bill from being used for abortions. Up or down on this could make a difference in the final vote on the entire bill because it might sway fence-sitting Reps. whose vote hinges on whether they’re pro-choice socialist or pro-life socialist.
10:15 p.m.: Vote on the Stupak amendment… looks like it’s passing — no federal funds for abortions (“with some exceptions”) should the entire bill pass. So far 64 Dems voting for it.
10:37 p.m.: The “Republican alternative” is going down along party lines, save for one Repub voting with the Dems. Vote on the entire bill should be up shortly.
11 p.m.: Final vote going on now.
11:08 p.m.: Dems erupt as only people who just got a lot closer to getting their hands on a good chunk of the U.S. economy can. “Free health care that costs well over a trillion dollars” passed, 220-215. One Republican, Anh Cao, voted yes.