Boehner Leads Obstructionist House Republicans In A Futile Attempt To Abolish Healthcare Reform Again
Yesterday afternoon a resolution was introduced in the House to allow debate to begin on two bills, H.R. 5486, the Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act and H.R. 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act. The resolution passed 228- 186, every single Republican hewing to their obstructionist line and joined in that by 20 conservative Democrats, all but 3 of whom are Blue Dog caucus members. The Boehner Boys yesterday were extreme corporate shill Melissa Bean (IL), Allen Boyd (Blue Dog-FL), Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL), Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA), Kathleen Dahlkemper (Blue Dog-PA), Gabby Giffords (Blue Dog-AZ), Debbie Halvorson (IL), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD), Baron Hill (Blue Dog-IN), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC), Charlie Melancon (Blue Dog-LA), Harry Mitchell (Blue Dog-AZ), Scott Murphy (Blue Dog-NY), Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC), Zack Space (Blue Dog-OH). and, of course, Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS).
Then came the Republican motion to recommit (a maneuver to kill the bill). It failed 187-230-- 21 conservative Democrats voting with the GOP and one Republican-- Anh Cao (R-LA)-- voting with the Democrats. The Democratic aisle crossers on this round were Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Rick Boucher (VA), Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL), Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY), Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), Mark Critz (the corporate shill from PA the DCCC was begging everyone to support last month, already showing his true colors), Lincoln Davis (Blue Dog-TN), Chet Edwards (TX), Tim Holden (Blue Dog-PA), Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC), Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID), Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA), Colin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC), Ike Skelton (MO), John Tanner (Blue Dog-TN), Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS) and Harry Teague (NM).
All the hubbub wasn't really about the two Small Business acts. I mean, it was about them for the Democrats, but the government-hating Republicans who have no interest in actually governing had something unrelated in mind: they still want to kill what they call "ObamaCare." (They also still want to kill Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and always have but in preparation for the 2010 Midterms, Dave Camp (R-MI), their Ranking Member on House Ways and Means, introduced a motion to kill the Small Business acts as a form of legislative hissy fit directed at healthcare reform.)
According to Speaker Pelosi's blog, the legislation is part of the orderly effort to "create American jobs and restore fiscal accountability and discipline," [all anathema to Republicans who are eager to make everything fail in order to grasp at power again]. "To create hundreds of thousands of jobs on Main Street, the House will consider two bills this week to expand much needed lending to small businesses and offer tax incentives to help small businesses grow, hire, and fuel our economy-- which are fully paid for and comply with pay as you go budget law." The two bills will
• Leverage up to $300 billion in loans for small businesses through a $30 billion lending fund for small and medium-sized community banks, which focus on lending to small firms, and $2 billion for innovative state lending programs supporting small business. A few public dollars can generate substantial private bank financing; net cost of this lending is $1 billion over 10 years. The lending fund is separate from and unlike TARP it is fully paid for and will save taxpayers $1 billion as banks are expected to repay funds over 10 years; it is limited to smaller banks; and tough performance-based incentives would ensure that banks lend to small businesses.
• Restart private investment to meet small businesses’ evolving financing needs through a new SBA public-private partnership.
• Provide $3.5 billion in tax incentives to spur investment in small businesses and the formation of new small businesses, and grant small business tax penalty relief.
So what's not to like? The bill are supported by a real cross-section of mainstream economic players the GOP is usually kissing up to, like the National Small Business Association, the American Bankers Association, Small Business Majority, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, Independent Community Bankers of America, and National Bankers Association.
But according to Boehner “House Republicans will force a vote to end the job-killing ‘individual mandate’ at the heart of ObamaCare during the debate on the small business deficit spending bill. We’ll highlight our effort using the ‘America Speaking Out’ website to call attention to what will be, literally, the biggest vote on the new health care law since it passed. This is a first step in Republicans’ efforts to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with commonsense, step-by-step reforms to lower costs.”
Rob Andrews (D-NJ) on the floor of the House explained Camp's and Boehner's idiotic tactic and what it would have meant if it passed. "This motion is a guaranteed increase in middle class health insurance premiums for all Americans, if that’s what you want you should vote for it."
After the GOP motion to recommit failed, the Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act passed 247-170, 5 Republicans abandoning Boehner's extremist position to cross the aisle and vote with the Democrats-- Ron Paul (R-TX), who marches to his own drum, two very endangered Republicans representing Democratic districts, Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Anh Cao (R-LA) and two Republicans trying to act like they're part of the mainstream because they're running for the Senate, Mike Castle (R-DE) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). Only 8 Democrats stuck with Boehner: Marion Berry (Blue Dog-AR, who had voted against healthcare reform, is retiring, detests Obama and was drunk again yesterday), Allen Boyd (Blue Dog-FL, who was the only Democrat in the House to co-sponsor Bush's attempt to do away with Social Security), Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN), Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA), Chet Edwards (TX), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD), Harry Mitchell (Blue Dog-AZ), and Colin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN). All the Democrats whose names are in bold also voted against health care reform on March 21. It's worth noting several reactionary Democrats who voted against healthcare reform don't appear on any of the Boehner Boys lists above, primarily because they have primaries coming up against progressives giving them the political scares of their lives, namely Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Larry Kissell (NC), Stephen Lynch (MA), and Mike Arcuri (Blue Dog-NY). Primaries work, even if the bad player doesn't always lose.