Majority Democrats are pointing to accomplishments as the U.S. House of
Representatives adjourned for its summer recess. Although Democrats were unable to achieve President Barack
Obama's goal of a vote in the chamber on health care reform, a key
committee voted late Friday 31 to 28 to approve its version of legislation after a compromise with fiscally-conservative members seeking additional cost reductions.
two intense days considering numerous amendments from Democrats and
minority Republicans, the House Energy and Commerce Committee completed
and voted to approve one of three versions of health care reform to
have emerged in the House of Representatives.
return to their home districts where they will use the August recess to
try to sustain or in some cases regain public support for proposals to
create a government option to compete with private insurers, and
expand health coverage to the 46 million to 50 million Americans
currently without it.
When the House returns in September,
Democrats will face the arduous task of combining separate measures
into one bill the House will consider.
In a news conference,
Democratic leaders pointed to a list of measures approved since
President Barack Obama came to office. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
underscored progress on the healthcare issue saying Americans can look
forward to a new era not dominated by the health insurance industry.
health insurance industry is the biggest opponent of this legislation
passing and with a public option in it, because they know the glory
days are over for them, the leverage has switched to the consumer," she
said. "Congress and the president will remove the insurance industry
from coming between the patient and his or her doctor."
made a point of highlighting positive economic developments they assert
are directly linked to approval earlier this year of President Obama's
economic stimulus and other steps aimed at restoring confidence in
Representative Steny Hoyer cited a brighter
picture recently for the Dow Jones Industrial index, and improvements
in the U.S. housing market, saying these show management of the economy
under Democrats is working.
"The Dow has gained more than 1,300
points. Yet there are some who say it is not working. Well the people
who are investing and buying stocks apparently think something is
working. 1,300 points since the adoption of the [American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act]. And in the housing market, one of the crises that
we confronted, we just saw the largest monthly gain in nine years," said Hoyer.
A member of the U.S. Senate who has played a
key role in both healthcare and financial system reform for Democrats,
Senator Christopher Dodd who heads the Senate Banking Committee,
announced Friday that he had early stage prostate cancer.
news conference in his home state of Connecticut, Dodd said he will
undergo surgery and return to work in September. Voicing optimism
about his prognosis, he said he will run for re-election in 2010, and
used the announcement to underscore the importance of healthcare reform.
not about me, it's about people without healthcare, or the ones who are
under-insured, people out there who struggle every day. That is what
really is at risk here by not getting this job done," he said.
have spent the past several weeks questioning both the effectiveness of
the economic stimulus, and Democratic proposals to reform the nation's
Representative Mike Pence continued that
strategy on the floor of the House on Friday, emphasizing another
Republican talking point that Democrat's plans entail sharp tax
increases and will add to the federal deficit:
"Included in the
Democrat bill, according to official estimates, $820.1 billion over 10
years. The chance for the American people to know what is in this plan
and to come back and pass healthcare reform without more government and
more taxes? Priceless," he said.
Yet, Democrats were able to
claim another legislative accomplishment on Friday - House approval of
a measure that would restrict how highly-paid Wall Street executives
The 237 to 185 vote accomplished one key aspect
of President Obama's goal of increasing oversight of and accountability
in financial institutions that received billions of dollars in federal
government rescue funds.
Though it includes the president's
financial reform suggestions, the measure goes a step farther with a
provision aimed at discouraging firms from offering pay incentives that
might encourage employees to take risks that could threaten a company
or the U.S. economy.
Healthcare reform efforts in the Senate,
which has one more week before adjournment, will also fail to achieve
President Obama's objective of a vote in that chamber before the summer
After intense negotiations on a version of healthcare
legislation , the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus
announced that he will not be able to advance a measure toward approval
by that committee next week.