Our government is in turmoil. The national parks are closed, veterans may not get their well deserved benefits and if you’re a tourist who just arrived in our capital, well, you can still go to a movie. The entire D.C. government is closed, which actually might not be a bad thing. It’s a mess and there’s no relief in sight.
As we all know by now, the government shutdown is a result of a group of obnoxious, I-don’t-care-about-governing, right wing Republicans who are still whining about the Affordable Health Care Act which, for PR purposes, they have dubbed “Obamacare.” Personally, I don’t think that is such a terrible name because I choose to read it as saying that “Obama cares.’ But that’s beside the point.
The Republican Party and, specifically the Tea Partyers, are now upset because they say the AHCA was shoved down their throat, that they had no say in the matter, that they were “bulldozed” by that legislative powerhouse, Nancy Pelosi. Of course, these charges totally discount the fact that in the House and Senate subcommittee, the House and Senate full committee and the floor of both houses, the Republicans were able to offer dozens upon dozens of amendments to the bill. One count says they offered at least 500 amendments to the bill. They offered them, they were debated they generally lost. And now they want a do-over, government be damned.
They also say that Obama never listened to them. (If I were clever enough, I would insert right here a picture of a screaming infant). Obama never listened, huh? How soon we forget.
Hey, what about that big brouhaha over the abortion issue? Remember when anti-abortion groups and legislators started screaming that under Obamacare the federal government would be able to pay for abortions, thus running counter to the long-standing “Hyde Amendment,” which prohibits federal funding of abortions in most cases? Remember Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak, who wanted to support the healthcare bill but was anti-abortion and shared the same concerns about the use of federal funds. He offered an amendment that was adopted by the House of Representatives that made clear that no federal dollars could be used for abortion but a similar provision was defeated in the Senate. Stupak then announced that he and several other Democratic representatives who supported health reform legislation but opposed abortion would not vote for the final version of the legislation unless clarifying language was put forward. The ensuing controversy made Stupak “perhaps the single most important rank-and-file House member in passing the bill.”
Then the poop hit the fan with the abortion rights group. They held rallied all over the country. They were outraged that the President would even think about compromising. But what did President Obama do? I guess he could have threatened to shut down the government if he did not get his way but instead he and Stupak reached an understanding and the President ultimately signed an Executive Order barring federal funding of abortion through the AHCA. Stupak and several of his allies then supported the bill. Anti abortion groups subsequently accused Stupak of betraying the pro-life movement and ran $150,000 worth of radio advertisements against him. In April 2010, Stupak announced his intention to retire from Congress.
The bottom line is that this is one stark example where the President LISTENED and compromised, acceding to the wishes of the anti-abortion movement (although it did not assuage them). It’s very convenient that the Republican Party has now forgotten about Bart Stupak.
- The GOP assault on women’s health began with the 1976 Hyde amendment | Jill Filipovic (theguardian.com)
- Texas anti-abortion group ad targets Wendy Davis (mywesttexas.com)
- Nebraska Supreme Court rules 16-year-old ‘not mature enough’ for abortion (rawstory.com)
- Texas anti-abortion group ad targets Wendy Davis (star-telegram.com)