House Passes Senate Healthcare Bill
Special Report - March 22, 2010
Late Sunday evening, a majority of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate version of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) by a vote of 219 to 212. All 178 Republicans voted against the measure and they were joined by 34 Democrats, but the measure passed anyway. Earlier Sunday, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Michigan) announced he and several other Democrats had decided to support the Senate passed version of the bill that had stripped his earlier amendment to prevent taxpayer money from being spent for abortions. He said this was possible because President Obama had promised to issue an Executive Order that would implement the same abortion protections his original amendment to the bill would have done. Rep. Stupak was promptly criticized by a number of prolife leaders who argued that the Executive Order could easily be undone and was an easy target for a lawsuit.
Phyllis Schlafly, president of Eagle Forum said, "It is naïve for any elected official, especially one who describes himself as ‘pro-life,' to expect that a promise to issue an Executive Order that reasserts the intentions of the Hyde Amendment will be fulfilled by the most pro-abortion president to ever sit in the White House. Perhaps Mr. Stupak and his fellow pro-life Democrats forget that President Obama's first Executive Order was the repeal of the Mexico City Policy to allow for international funding of abortion."
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council said, "Passage of this partisan government takeover of health care with all of its Medicare cuts, tax increases, a continued marriage penalty, individual mandates, and abortion funding shows the extreme leftist orientation of this Congress. The American people, regardless of their view of its legality, should not be forced to pay for someone's abortion. Those who voted for this legislation cannot legitimately claim to be even neutral on the issue of abortion. This legislation accomplishes this abortion mandate in spades."
After passage of H.R. 3590, the House took up and passed H.R. 4872, The Reconciliation Act of 2010, that would make a number of changes to H.R. 3590, the main healthcare reform bill. The Democrats decided to use this unusual process in order to eliminate the possibility of the Senate or House failing to pass a bill that came out of a joint House-Senate conference committee. Under normal circumstances, representatives from the two bodies would discuss the items in disagreement between the two chambers and come up with a suggested compromise version of the bill that would be voted on by each body.
Even before the votes Sunday, various legal entities were lining up to file lawsuits. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice said, "We're 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 Americabut 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."
In addition, 38 states are reportedly considering lawsuits over the unconstitutionality of forcing citizens to buy health insurance. Idaho Governor Butch Otter was the first to sign a bill passed by the state legislature that directs Idaho's attorney general to sue if mandatory insurance becomes federal law. Prosecutors from Florida and South Carolina said they were preparing to launch a lawsuit if the health care bill reform legislation became law, challenging its requirement that all Americans buy insurance.
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