Friday, October 2, 2009

46 Democrats Standing Up for Real Health Care Reform

Jane Hamsher:

On July 31, 60 Democrats in the House signed a letter saying they would vote against any health care bill that does not have a robust public option. They wrote in protest over Blue Dog efforts, led by Mike Ross, to hold the House bill "hostage" and gut it. Now, according to an interview with Raul Grijalva in The Hill, that number is down to 46:

Grijalva noted that 46 members recently signed a letter pledging to vote against the centrist plan. In the numbers game of the House, that is significant, because Republicans are expected to unite against the healthcare bill. So if 39 Democrats oppose the plan, it wouldn’t get the 218 votes needed to pass. There are 52 Blue Dogs, as well as many other centrist members not in the coalition.

Grijalva began this whip count on September 14, and evidently 14 Democrats have defected since signing the July 31 letter. Small wonder -- despite tremendous popular support for their strong position, they are up against leadership and the White House who have threatened progressive organizations and called them "fucking stupid" for defending the public option from Blue Dog attack.

It's time for progressive organizations, for labor unions and community groups and individuals to get their backs. Richard Trumka shouldn't have to be the only one out there taking all the political risks and having AFL-CIO members threatened with huge tax burdens by Congress if he doesn't drop his support for a public option.

Progressives organizations need to come together and say that they will be there for the members of Congress who are always there for us. Because if we don't, we've been down this road too many times before. FISA. The war. Military commissions. It may be paved with the "good intentions" of progressives -- but we know where it always goes.

Maxine Waters. Keith Ellison. Jerrold Nadler. Emanuel Cleaver. Lloyd Doggett. Bob Filner. Chellie Pingree. Lynn Woolsey. John Conyers. These are the names we see over and over again, fighting for health care and the environment and worker's rights and civil liberties. For choice and marriage equality and financial regulation and free speech. They are standing up for what we believe in, resisting the influence of lobbyist money and Rahm Emanuel's thuggery, and if we don't support them when everything is on the line, there is no progressive movement in this country -- we're just going through the motions on the way to inevitable defeat.

They are our Health Care Heroes.

The passionate, vocal commitment of these progressive members to true health care reform has emboldened even those on the Senate Finance Committee. But it is public, not institutional support that has given them the ability to hold out as long as they have. Quietly, Rahm Emanuel is doing to these members what he's doing to Richard Trumka -- hammering them mercilessly until they accept the insurance industry bailout he negotiated long ago.

Sign the DFA/Firedoglake petition and show these 46 Democrats that you support their fight for real health care reform.

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