July 29th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today praised the Blue Dog Democrat coalition for delaying consideration of the House version “ObamaCare” until after the August recess.
“The American people should be grateful to the Blue Dogs for winning them a month,” said Wilson, “This will give constituents the time they need to visit with their representatives and let Congress know just how bad government-run socialized medicine will really be for them.”
“And once members see, hear, and live with the overwhelming opposition to the Obama plan for a month, there is no question that they will have no choice but to vote against it,” Wilson added.
According to the Hill, “In exchange for putting off a floor vote until after Labor Day, the Energy and Commerce Committee may be allowed to continue its markup of the healthcare bill this week even if an agreement has not been reached between committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and seven Energy and Commerce Blue Dogs over the content of the bill.”
Said Wilson, “The only concession the Blue Dogs made was not even much of a concession—to resume committee work on the bill, which includes their own slate of amendments that committee chair Henry Waxman has not agreed to.”
According to the Blue Dog chief negotiator Congressman Mike Ross (AR-CD4), “All I can say is that if he begins a markup without an agreement, we’re certainly prepared to move forward and offer our amendments.”
“This is a stare-down between Mike Ross and Nancy Pelosi,” Wilson said, “and Nancy Pelosi is the one who just blinked.”
This followed threats by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Energy and Commerce committee chairman to bypass the committee. Waxman had said “we are going to have to look at perhaps bypassing the committee” if no agreement could be reached with at least seven Blue Dog Democrats on the committee that to date have held up the legislation because of its high price tag, which will cost more than $1.5 trillion according to Kaiser Health News.
“This is inside baseball,” said Wilson. “Pelosi and Waxman overplayed their hand, the Blue Dogs smacked them down hard, and now the appearance of a ‘compromise’ to resume a committee markup they threatened to bypass is merely a face-saving campaign where the Blue Dogs politely agree to pretend that the Speaker is still in charge of the House on this issue, when in fact she is no longer calling the shots.”
Currently, there are 52 members of the Blue Dog Democrats in the House of Representatives, more than enough votes to defeat the proposal should they vote with the 178 member House Republican caucus.
Markup in the Energy and Commerce committee is now expected to resumed this week after several setbacks. Markup sessions were twice cancelled as Waxman sought to avoid taking up Blue Dog proposals and iron out an agreement out of committee. According to the Hill, the Blue Dogs have threatened to vote with Republicans on the committee against the bill.
“I won’t allow them to hand over control of our committee to Republicans,” Waxman had told reporters.
Wilson encouraged Blue Dogs on the committee to “gut” the bill. “The Blue Dogs have raised several legitimate concerns against the House legislation ranging from the cost to the disastrous impact upon small businesses,” said Wilson, “and the only way the American people will know that they’ve been properly addressed is if they are aired out in public hearings.”
Wilson called on Americans nationwide to visit with their representatives over the August recess. “The American people owe the Blue Dog coalition a debt of gratitude for giving them a valuable opportunity to meet with their representatives before a vote on this abomination. Now they must meet with their representatives every day and voice their opposition to this plan loudly.”
Interview Availability: Please contact Alex Rosenwald at (703)383-0880 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.
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