Business As Usual In Congress
The Congress described as the “most ethical and open Congress” in history by its Speaker is busy writing massive and costly health care legislation in secret. Even Democrats aren’t happy about this process:
Forty-five House Democrats in the party’s moderate-to-conservative wing have protested the secretive process by which party leaders in their chamber are developing legislation to remake the health care system.
The lawmakers, members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, said they were “increasingly troubled” by their exclusion from the bill-writing process.
They expressed their concerns in a letter delivered Monday to three House committee chairmen writing the bill, which House leaders hope to pass this summer.
Representative Mike Ross, an Arkansas Democrat who is chairman of the coalition’s health task force, said: “We don’t need a select group of members of Congress or staff members writing this legislation. We don’t want a briefing on the bill after it’s written. We want to help write it.”
Of course the Blue Dogs are Democrats elected in mostly conservative districts and thus hold seats which have traditionally been Republican. Meanwhile the chairmen of the three committees in question all hold safe Democratic seats.
The committee chairmen writing the House bill are Representatives Henry A. Waxman and George Miller, both of California, and Charles B. Rangel of New York.
Asked about the letter, Karen Lightfoot, a spokeswoman for Mr. Waxman, said he had met with some members of the Blue Dog Coalition and welcomed their suggestions. When she was asked why, then, they were complaining, she said, “That’s more of a question for the Blue Dogs than for us.”
Very similar to the Obama outreach to Republicans on the budget and stimulus. He ‘welcomed their suggestions’, but they certainly had no chair at the table when the legislation was formulated.
Your future health care is being decided behind closed doors by the liberal wing of the Democratic party. Apparently input from the “center” and right are not welcome. I’m not surprised in the least, but I’m sure there are some out there that are.
[HT: Mary R]