Congress Passes Healthcare Bill

Congress completed action Sunday night on the major portion of President Obama‘s top priority, a historic restructuring of the nation’s health care system that has eluded his predecessors for more than a century. The 219-212 House vote, coming after a tumultuous day of protests and rancorous debate, paves the way for Obama to sign into law most of his 10-year, $940 billion plan within the next few days. The House also approved a package of changes to the bill by a 220-211 vote shortly before midnight and sent it to the Senate for final action, perhaps later this week.

Democrats who provided all 219 votes cheered “Yes we can” when the needed votes were cast, assuring that about 32 million Americans will gain health insurance coverage and millions more will win protections against losing theirs. The legislation will raise taxes, largely on the wealthy, and reduce future Medicare spending by about $500 billion. Republicans who voted unanimously against the health care overhaul, along with 34 Democrats, predicted it would come back to bite Democrats at the polls — and in the form of repeal efforts as soon as next year.

Abortion Deal Ensures Votes for Health Care

At 4 p.m. ET Sunday, hours after the debate had begun on the floor of the House, opponents of publicly-funded abortion announced that the seven Democratic holdouts had reached a deal with the White House and would vote in favor of the bill. Their decision ensured that the Democrats would have the votes to pass it. “We’ve always said we were for health care reform, but there was a principle that was more important,” Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich said. The last-minute compromise? A promise that after the health care bill passed, Obama would sign an executive order affirming that it would not result in any government funding for abortions. Reaction was swift: Republican abortion opponents, including the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), called the deal a sham; NARAL Pro-Choice America criticized politicians for bargaining with abortion rights.

  • A promise from Obama who has already broken most of his campaign promises? Virtually worthless.

Arizona Democrats Risk Re-election by Voting for Healthcare Reform

Arizona’s three most moderate congressional Democrats voted Sunday for a sweeping health-care-reform bill, setting themselves up for even tougher re-election fights in districts already considered vulnerable to a Republican takeover. Reps. Gabrielle Giffords, Ann Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell were among the 219 Democrats who voted to pass the historic bill, which is projected to extend coverage to 32 million Americans by 2019 and cost $938 billion over 10 years. All three represent so-called swing districts. Republicans believe all three ensured their defeats, but Democrats and others say they may be helped by popular portions of the bill that take effect before the elections. For example, a provision to allow parents to keep their adult children on their health insurance to age 26 would take effect immediately and should be well-received by voters.

American Center for Law & Justice Preparing Healthcare Lawsuit

The ACLJ is preparing to file a federal lawsuit challenging the flawed health care package. Those self-proclaimed pro-life Democrats put their trust in an Executive Order – subject to being rescinded by the President – a move that is not only short-sighted but does not provide the guarantees and pro-life protections secured by statutory language in a law approved by Congress. The fact remains that the actual health care bill just approved does fund abortion. The Executive Order is problematic on a number of fronts.  It is not a legislative fix and does not carry the force of Congressionally-approved legislation.  It does not supersede law.  It can be rescinded.  And, what should concern everyone:  this Executive Order places HHS Secretary Sebelius at the helm of the funding process – a cabinet member who has a long and documented history of supporting abortion.

The ACLJ is preparing legal action to challenge this measure and intend to file a lawsuit in federal court soon challenging a law that is not only wrong for America – but one with a forced mandate that penalizes Americans who choose not to participate.  That is unconstitutional, and we believe ultimately it will be overturned by the courts.

Thousands Rally for Change in Immigration Laws

An estimated crowd of 150,000 gathered on the National Mall on Sunday to demand that Congress provide a path to citizenship for America’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. Although most of Washington’s attention was on the health care debate, the noisy crowd of immigrants, church leaders, celebrities and others did their best to make their point heard. They chanted “¡Si, se puede!” — echoing Obama’s campaign cry of “Yes, we can!” — and pressed the president to keep his promise to overhaul immigration laws. Leaders voiced support for a plan Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., presented last week. It calls for immigrants who want to obtain legal residency or citizenship to admit they broke the law by coming here and pay fines and back taxes. They would have to pass background checks and speak English. In a videotaped message to the crowd, Obama vowed support for the plan and said America’s “broken immigration system” needs to be fixed.

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