Saturday, March 06, 2010

My very own Senator, Mark Begich, is the 50th Senator open to using reconciliation to pass Health Care Reform in this country. Can we get excited yet?

I KNOW that Mark wants to pass this very badly. I spoke to him about that very subject several months ago and he expressed his desire to get the bill passed.

He is being very careful, which is called for in the crazy political times we are living in, but he is definitely NOT going to balk if the other 49 senators are ready to do this thing.

Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform.

The reconciliation process is a budgetary tool used to address spending and deficit issues with a simple majority vote. The budget reconciliation process has been used 22 times by both parties since 1980. Action to clean up the health reform bill will further reduce the deficit.

Comprehensive health care reform has already passed the Senate with 60 votes. If the House passes the Senate bill, the President could sign that version of comprehensive reform into law. I believe reconciliation would only be used as a tool to take out special backroom deals and to eliminate concerns raised by many Alaskans I’ve talked with. The President has proposed narrow changes which I support, including completely closing the coverage gap for seniors’ prescription drugs, eliminating the special Nebraska funding provision, providing additional federal financing to all states to help pay for the expansion of Medicaid, and strengthening the Medicare waste, fraud, and abuse provisions.

Again, thank you for contacting me. As the 111th Congress moves forward, please continue to be in touch with your thoughts and concerns.

Mark Begich
U.S. Senator

You can read more by clicking the title and visiting Shannyn's blog.

And by the way speaking of Shannyn, I need to give her a lot of credit for pushing Senator Begich on this issue and repeatedly asking him, both on the radio and in private, what he is going to do. Without Shannyn's persistence we may still have no idea how Begich was planning to vote.

Thank you Shannyn.


  1. Purple Alaska6:21 AM

    Thank you Senator Begich, for honest representation!

  2. Anonymous8:20 AM

    Did he mention what he would like to do about funding for abortion?

  3. It strikes me as rather odd that you should be so grateful to your Senator, for him letting you know how is going to represent you.

    Isn't Begich obligated to his constituents to do just that?

    Shannyn Moore is "doing her job", as usual a very good one I agree.

    Maddow north as I think of her sometimes, but that is unfair because she is unique as Alaska.

    However, many more Senators have not only divulged to their constituents that they will vote
    for healthcare through reconciliation, but they have signed their support for a Public Option as well.

    Now THAT is the REAL question for Begich, to vote with your party through reconciliation should never have been a question in the first place.

    I have posted this on Shannyn's site and at The Mudflats:

    As of yesterday……35 senators and… word from Begich about the P.O.

    See story below:

    Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) became the 35th senator to commit to voting for a public health insurance option if it comes to a vote on the floor under the rules of reconciliation. That leaves advocates of the option 15 votes short with no official whip action from either the White House or Senate leadership.

    Senate leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) have expressed support for the movement, but the White House has concluded, according to press secretary Robert Gibbs, that the public option doesn’t have “political support.”

    The steady climb in named supporters undermines the White House’s conclusion.

    While it refuses to push for the public option, the White House is attempting to muscle through several measures that have almost no political support within the Democratic caucus and, in fact, are vociferously opposed.

    The excise tax on benefits, which hits unions hard, has extremely little support yet the White House has managed to include it. The administration is now pushing to include health savings accounts, a GOP priority that amounts to the creation of significant tax shelters for the wealthy. Democrats have fought hard in the past to oppose them and weaken them but the White House now intends to give them to the GOP in exchange for nothing.

    “I find that ironic — something that we had fought to keep out, and indeed were successful, gets back in as part of reconciliation. And a public option that enjoys great support in the House and up to 30 senators gets left out. That’s something I just don’t understand,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told Salon Wednesday.

    Obama’s campaign arm, meanwhile, is arguing that “at this point, the public option is detrimental to our efforts,” according to Chris Bowers.

    The administration’s efforts notwithstanding, Cantwell said that if the parliamentarian determines that the public option can be voted on under the rules of reconciliation, which require only 50 votes, she’s on board.

    “If the parliamentarian says you can and it can all work, yes,” she told HuffPost when asked if she’d vote for it. “If it works, fine.”

    Progressive groups pushing for the public option are keeping a running tally here.

    “This is great news,” said Adam Green, a lead organizer with Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has been pressuring senators to commit. “I think a lot of Americans are wondering: Why are senators like Ted Kaufman and Maria Cantwell showing more leadership and being more in touch with where the American people are than the White House? As Anthony Weiner asked yesterday, ‘What votes did President Obama win by retreating on the public option?

  4. Anonymous9:17 AM

    There will be enough for reconciliation but it still won't work because some of them are going to use the abortion excuse for not going alonb with it. And then if they are pacified with more guarantees that abortions won't be the issue, they will come up with another excuse. Excuses to serve the lobbyists who have paid them so well to keep the moneygrubbing statuts quo. Corrupt government, corrupt senator, and corrupt country. It appears to be what Americans want.

  5. Anonymous9:24 AM

    I wrote Begich's office. They replied that Begich will not sign on with the Senators pushing for a public option.

  6. OT: I think that is the lovliest picture of Shannyn I have ever seen-she is radiant, and her beauty shines from the inside out.

  7. Anonymous1:26 PM

    I hope Senator Begich will make certain that the public option is included in any Bill that is passed otherwise, I feel that it will be a 'give away' to the insurance industrial complex.

  8. Anonymous6:21 PM

    The Hyde Amendment (1976) makes it illegal for federal funds to go to abortion. Stupak is campaigning.

  9. Anonymous7:00 PM

    Thanks, Senator Begich. What took you so long? Was it your father's ghost that finally brought you around?


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