Republicans De-fund ACORN

The House yesterday by a vote of 345-75 denied all federal funding for ACORN, the beleaguered community organizing group at the center of yet another series of scandals.  All 75 votes against stripping ACORN funding were from Democrats, with two Democrats voting “present.”  The full vote breakdown is at the link.

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio offered the Motion to Recommit on an unrelated bill yesterday that stripped the funding.  The shocker was how quickly the House Democrat majority leadership threw ACORN under the bus.

“There were points of order that lie against [the motion], but I think Mr. Miller and the Majority Leader, Mr.  Hoyer, recognized that if they tried to stop this on a point of order, they were likely to fail, and they proceeded,” Boehner said.  “Though today’s vote indicates that the writing’s on the wall for ACORN, President Obama must indicate whether he will join the Congress in taking decisive action to break all government ties with this corrupt organization.”

The Senate must now pass the measure, having passed a different ban on more specific funding Wednesday by amendment to the Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill.  Then the President would have to sign the legislation.  Obama doesn’t have much of a track record of defending his long list of political allies embroiled in scandals.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, spoke after the vote of their committee report, “Is ACORN Intentionally Structured as a Criminal Enterprise?” (pdf)

“We on the committee have been looking at ACORN, publishing an extensive study of their other criminal activities,” Issa said. “The importance of the vote today is that it is the last part of government necessary to rebuke the organization so that we can, in fact, eliminate all of its federal funding and then, if I have my way, seek to look into its non-profit status.”

I asked Issa what this would mean at the state level where ACORN reportedly gets most of its grant funding.

“Governor Schwarzenegger acting to defund ACORN in California — you’re talking about one out of every nine dollars is spent there,” Issa said.  “So I think you’re going to see a sequential effort from governors both Republican and Democratic to defund ACORN in their own states.”

RSC Still Waiting on the President

The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest caucus in the House of Representatives, again called on the President to follow through on his repeated public pledges to talk alternative health care proposals with Republicans.  After weekly inquiries about setting the date, RSC Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (R-Ga.) says they’ve gotten polite “thank yous” but no meeting.

“As Republicans who seek cooperation on health reform, we can tell you that those pledges have rung hollow,” Price said.  “We’ve sought out the President.  We’ve asked to work together and we’ve been denied at every opportunity.  But we’re not deterred.”  

Price, a former orthopedic surgeon, is a co-author of the RSC health care bill. Other RSC members were on hand to discuss their alternative health care legislation with the President through the media, apparently the only way left open to Republicans, despite Obama’s public posturing.  

“Today we’re here to put forth a positive vision for health reform,” Price said.  “No less than three dozen health bills have been introduced by Republicans this year.  And while each bill is unique, they’re all based on one fundamental principle, and that’s that patients and doctors ought to be making decisions not bureaucrats either from the government or from insurance companies.  We think that patients should be in control of the system.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking Republican on the House Committee on the Budget, is one of those members offering his own bill, co-written with Sens. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Ca.).  It was the very first health care reform bill offered this year back in May.

“The biggest fiscal crisis in America and the fact that our debt is going up so high is because of health care spending,” Ryan said.  “If we make the government the single or even the primary spender of health care, then the only way to solve our fiscal crisis, the only way to solve our debt problem is to have the government be in the position of having to ration care.  That’s not who we are as Americans.  What we’re proving with these bills is that it is unnecessary.”

Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) says he has, “written more health care bills than anyone” in the Congress.  

“The President said in his address to the joint session of Congress that the proof we need health care reform, and he says it’s proof that we need a government-run plan, is that in many states, as much as 75 percent of the people who buy health insurance in the individual market, have only five plans to choose from,” Shadegg said.  “And he pointed out that in one state 95 percent of the people get their plan from only five companies.  Well, welcome to the discussion, Mr. President.  I offered a bill three years ago to address issue.”

When asked if Republicans were willing to compromise on the government option to get tort reform, Shadegg pointed out that Republicans are the ones who have already made the huge concessions.

“On two of the three biggest issues, universal coverage and pre-existing conditions, Republicans are saying we’re ready, we’re already there,” Shadegg said.  “Perhaps we should have held those back and used them as bargaining chips, but those are huge concessions.  The notion that we now have to give more to get tort reform?  I don’t think so.”

There has been a complete electronic media blockade on the existence of Republican alternative bills.  There were five news cameras at the press conference covering the existence of Republican alternative bills.  Still waiting on the broadcast reports.

McMorris Rogers Demands Protection for Disabled Children

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.), vice chair of the House Republican Conference, joined more than a dozen parents this week to talk about the dangers a government-run health care system poses to millions of special needs children who rely on our health care system on a daily basis.  McMorris Rogers is the mother of a two-year-old son with Down’s Syndrome.
“Throughout the health care reform process, it is very important that those with a disability have a voice in pending legislation,” McMorris Rodgers said.

Health care rationing is a real threat to people with disabilities who require a daily care.  The most recent U.S. Census Bureau report released in 2008 says over 54 million people in America report some level of disability.  Parents reported nearly six million children under the age of 14 had a disability.

All amendments offered to health care bills in both House and Senate committees that would bar “comparative effectiveness research” (CER) data from being used to ration health care have been defeated by Democrats in committee.  These CER methodologies are used as a basis for the denial of benefits to patients against their will using disabilities, “quality of life,” age and life expectancy as criteria.

When government runs health care, keeping costs down means denial of services.  Or worse.

Canadian Barb Farlow spoke with McMorris Rogers about her daughter, Annie, who was born with a genetic condition.  Annie died in a Canadian hospital 80 days after her birth. When Farlow looked into the circumstances of her daughter’s death, she was horrified to find out that the Canadian government had denied life-saving medical care.

“We later discovered that no diagnostic tests had been done and a ‘do not resuscitate order’ was written before we had provided consent,” Farlow said. “The discovery that our fundamental, parental rights had been violated in such a manner without cause has left us shocked and devastated. Sadly, we believe that to our medical system Annie was not a child but a label with associated statistics and a price tag. We will never know Annie’s potential and so we grieve her death and the life she might have had.”

Welcome to government-run health care.  More information on the parents’ stories at this link.