Go to the politics section for more local and national politics coverage.
Washington state's members of Congress explain their health-care votes
Posted by Richard Wagoner
Some members of Washington's congressional delegation wasted no time in issuing their statements following the House vote to adopt the Senate health-care bill. Other members apparently were waiting until the House conducted a second vote to make changes to the bill before sending out their statements. Here are the statements we received as of 8:30 p.m.
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma:
Washington DC – Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after his vote in favor the health care reform legislation passed by the House of Representatives this evening:
“With the passage of this legislation today, we have reached an historic milestone in the long fight to reform our health care system. While the legislation is not perfect, it represents a significant step toward achieving the very difficult goals of reining in exploding health care cost and expanding access to care.
“After more than a year of discussion, this legislation brings together ideas from both sides of the aisle and it stands as our best opportunity to move forward on reform. Simply put, with this vote today we have categorically rejected the status quo.
“Yesterday, I released a much more detailed statement on why I support this legislation to reform our health care system. To view my statement from yesterday statement click here.”
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane:
Washington, DC- Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, released the following statement after the U.S. House passed the Senate’s radical health care bill and then sent it to President Obama to be signed into law.
“This is a sad day in American history. Despite the objections of the vast majority of Americans – many of whom travelled to Washington, DC this weekend to protest this dangerous bill – President Obama and Speaker Pelosi convinced enough House Democrats to bypass the will of the people and pass this unprecedented government takeover of America’s health care system.”
“As I said on the House floor tonight, there is no question that America needs health care reform, but this bill will make things worse – not better – for the citizens of our great nation. This bill will increase premiums for working families, raise taxes on small businesses, and cut Medicare for seniors. It will also cost $938 billion at a time when government spending is already out of control and the national debt is at $12 trillion. And it will put tremendous strains on our private health care system while eroding the freedom and choices of the American individual.”
“During the past year, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi chose to focus on health care – not the economy – even while 3 million Americans were losing their jobs. The end result of this process is a flawed bill that will kill even more jobs, prolong our economic slump, and saddle our children and grandchildren with more debt. None of this had to happen. There was a better way. And I will continue to advocate for common-sense, market-based solutions that will increase health care access and lower costs – all without raising taxes or increasing the deficit.”
“Let there be no mistake: With the passage of this bill, America has become less like itself and more like a European welfare state. This transformation will have terrible consequences in the relationship between citizen and state – including a loss of freedom, innovation, and quality of life. And yet, we should be encouraged to know this isn’t the final chapter in this debate. At the first opportunity, we will repeal this bill, pass a better bill, and win our country back.”
Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco:
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – House Democrats today went around the regular lawmaking process and pushed through their government takeover of health care using a closed approach that blocked consideration of any Republican amendments. A statement by Congressman Doc Hastings (WA-04) is attached below.
"Improvements must be made to our health care system, but I reject the premise of this bill that government knows best how to run our health care. While it was impossible to stop the liberal majority from pushing through their government takeover of health care, House Republicans will lead the effort to repeal this legislation in 2011.
"I’m disappointed that House Democrats voted for the very backroom deals and political payoffs that the American people are so tired of and for a massive health care plan that most Americans simply don’t want.
“This bill is about more spending, higher taxes, and more government control all without lowering health care costs. This Congress is going in exactly the wrong direction by forcing every American to purchase government-approved insurance only, cutting Medicare, limiting who can own and operate hospitals, and eliminating health care choices.
“There is something very wrong when this Congress is passing a bill that arbitrarily restricts the ability of doctor-owned hospitals like the Wenatchee Valley Medical and its clinics to grow, rather than working to expand access to health care in areas like Central Washington.
“In the past 14 months, Democrats have given the federal government control of our banks, our car companies, our loans for college, and now our health care. I rejected those bills, and I oppose this government takeover of health care because I’m deeply concerned about the consequences that will be felt by every American.
“I am committed to doing everything possible to undo this bill and get to work on common sense reforms that will actually lower health care costs and increase choices.”
Covers the Eastside.
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.
Covers local government.
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.
Covers Seattle City Hall.
Covers King County and urban affairs.