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Oklahoma congressional delegation votes ‘no,’ expresses concern about implications of health care bill

By   /   March 22, 2010  /   9 Comments

By ANDREW W. GRIFFIN

Oklahoma Watchdog, editor

Posted: March 22, 2010

andrew@oklahomawatchdog.org

OKLAHOMA CITY – On Sunday night, the entire Oklahoma congressional delegation voted “no”  on H.R. 4872, the Reconciliation Act of 2010 and H.R. 2590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known in the political world as “ObamaCare.”

While the House Republicans were united in voting against this health-care reform legislation, Oklahoma’s single Democrat, U.S. Rep. Dan Boren of Muskogee, was one of the 34 House Democrats to vote against it as well.

Boren said in a press release Monday that he has “raised objections to a host of proposals contained within the legislation.”

Boren noted the cuts to vital services for seniors on Medicare, the tax hikes which will hit individuals and families and the “job-killing mandates on small businesses.”

“How could anyone think that these are the right steps during a time of record unemployment and recession?” Boren asked, adding, “This debate has been distracting and divisive, and it has clearly eroded the American people’s confidence in Congress to do its job.”

Commenting in the moments following the bill, following her “no” vote, U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, said in a statement that “I specifically question whether the congressional action taken today will pass Constitutional muster.”

Fallin then stated that this $2.6 trillion in deficit spending will impact generations to come, forcing them to pay “for something most Americans never wanted in the first place.”

U.S. Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, said this in a statement, released last night: “This is a sad day in the history of the United States Congress. The American people were clear that they did not want this government takeover of our healthcare system, yet Speaker Pelosi and her liberal allies in Congress didn’t seem to care. They twisted arms and cut backroom deals until they had the votes to pass it anyways,” Sullivan said. “I got news for them, the American people will have the votes to hold every single one of them accountable in November. This fight is not yet over – my Republican colleagues and I will use every means at our disposal to challenge, and ultimately repeal this unconstitutional bill.”

U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, had been on the record prior to the vote admitting that while “change is needed without our health care system … this bill is simply not the answer. The American people deserve better than a 2,700-page, trillion dollar government takeover of our health care system.”

And by Monday morning, in a statement released to Oklahoma Watchdog and other media outlets, Lucas echoed much of what his Sooner State congressional colleagues were saying: “Many economists believe that the true cost of this bill once it is fully implemented, could be more than $2.6 trillion by the year 2043. Our national debt is more than $12 trillion currently, and is expected to rise above $14 trillion by 2011 – making our national debt almost equal to the size of our entire economy. Spending another trillion dollars on this program is simply not feasible and will do nothing more than burden our children and grandchildren with crippling debt they may never be able to pay.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore said, “This $1.2 trillion monstrosity increases taxes by $569 billion and cuts Medicare by $523 billion. Remaking one-sixth of our economy in such a radical way could have disastrous long-term consequences for both our medical system and financial security. It’s nothing short of irresponsible to embark on such a massive government spending spree during a time of 9.7 percent unemployment and record deficits.”

Noting that the American people expressed “adamant objections” to Congress in regards to what is seen as a massive government power grab, Cole said “the Democratic majority has pursued their health care takeover through extraordinary exploitation of parliamentary rules, closed-door negotiations, budget gimmicks, and vote-buying kickbacks that have further undermined Americans’  confidence in the legislative process.”

Cole closed, saying that if this legislation is implemented, “it will weaken our health care system and bring the government closer to bankruptcy.” 

And Rep. Fallin, who is also running for governor of Oklahoma, noted in a press release Monday that attorneys general in a dozen states are already poised to challenge the constitutionality of the health care reform bill. In the release, Fallin also asked whether Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who is also running for governor as a Democrat, would join the attorneys general from these other states in challenging the bill.

Oklahoma Watchdog contacted Edmondson’s office in hopes of getting a comment, and in an email from the attorney general’s press secretary Charlie Price, Edmondson said: “More than two months ago I told Congress that Oklahoma and several other states have serious concerns with the federal health care bill. Our office joined other attorneys general offices from around the country on a conference call just yesterday to discuss ideas and legal strategies to protect our states from unwanted federal intrusion that potentially places us at a disadvantage.”

Continuing, Edmondson concluded: “We will continue to share information with our colleagues as we monitor the progress of the reconciliation bill being considered by the Senate. Should the final product contain constitutional infirmities that adversely impact the states and are not otherwise being addressed, we will consider appropriate legal action.”

Fallin, meanwhile, responded thusly: “The bottom line is that Drew Edmondson has not given us a yes or a no answer to the question of whether he supports Obama’s federal government takeover of our health care system. It’s time for him to get off the sidelines and into the game, before this legislative monstrosity comes any closer to being signed into law,” she said in a statement to Oklahoma Watchdog.  

Fallin continued: “While our attorney general is ‘sharing information with his colleagues,’ Barack Obama and Speaker Pelosi are working their hardest to implement a wholly unconstitutional federal power-grab that will diminish the freedoms of all Americans, kill jobs, raise health care costs and dump hundreds of millions of dollars in unfunded mandates on the state of Oklahoma during a time when we are already experiencing budget shortfalls. Drew Edmondson has a choice: he can either fight for the people of Oklahoma or he can support the radical leftist agenda pushed by his liberal colleagues in Washington.”

When Oklahoma Watchdog contacted Edmondson’s office, via email on Monday afternoon, no reply was received by the time this article was published. More on this in upcoming articles here at Oklahoma Watchdog.

Copyright 2010 Oklahoma Watchdog

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Andrew Griffin is a freelance journalist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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