Health reform is really near the finish line. This is a critical juncture. Yesterday, the President put his bold leadership on the line and gave it one big push. Now, we need Democrats in the House and the Senate to push final reform through. I say Democrats, because the Republicans have decided that obstructing is the only path they are willing to go down. So it's on the majority party, the governing party. The Democratic party.
When the House last voted on health reform, the House progressives heroically did the right thing and voted for the bill despite its many imperfections. Conservative Blue Dog Democrats, however, weren't in a cooperative mood. 97% (all but two) of the Progressive Caucus supported the House bill, while only 57% of Blue Dogs did the same. 23 members of the Bluedog Coalition voted NO on the House bill. All the statistics and numbers here are obtained from Progressive Caucus and Blue Dog member lists and vote tallies of the House health care vote and the Stupak amendment vote. We are now hearing that Bart Stupak (who is a member of neither caucus) is threatening to walk away with 10-12 members because the abortion language in the Senate bill that the House now must pass does not disrespect women quite as much. Speaker Pelosi has always shown great leadership, and now we are hearing that 10 Democrats who voted No on the original House legislation may vote for the Senate bill and the reconciliation fix.
I don't know about you, but it's too close for comfort for me. I want to give Speaker Pelosi a hand. If the Bluedogs are going to be called Democrats, have the privileges of the majority party, hold chairmanships, and run things as part of the majority party, they must bear some responsibility and take some tough votes for the leadership. Below, I am listing three categories of Blue Dogs I believe need to hear from us (especially constituents)
- Those who voted NO on final passage, and NO on Stupak. These members, in theory, should be the easiest switchers from NO to YES on final passage. In all likelihood, their reason for opposition was the public option. Now that that's gone, they no longer have an excuse to vote NO.
- Those who voted NO on final passage, and YES on Stupak. If Stupak wasn't enough to get them to vote yes, the public option may have been the reason they voted against the bill. It's gone now, and they should be able and willing to accept the Nelson language on abortion.
- Those who voted YES on final passage, and also YES on Stupak. These may be some of the wavering 10-12 above. Your message to them should emphasize that Nelson's language on abortion is still fairly restrictive, and the Hyde amendment remains in place. They need to keep their Yes votes on final passage.
NO on final passage, NO on Stupak - 9 Blue Dogs
- Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Administration - Phone: (202) 225-2801
- Dan Boren (OK-02) - Phone: (202) 225-2701
- Allen Boyd (FL-02) - Phone: (202) 225-5235
- Bart Gordon (TN-06) - Phone: (202) 225-4231
- Frank Kratovil (MD-01) - Phone: (202) 225-5311
- Betsy Markey (CO-04) - Phone: (202) 225-4676
- Walt Minnick (ID-01) - Phone: (202) 225-6611
- Murphy (NY-20) - Phone: (202) 225-5614
- Glenn Nye (VA-02) - Phone: (202) 225-4215
- Jim Matheson (UT-02), Blue Dog Co-Chair forCommunication - Phone: (202) 225-3011
- Heath Shuler (NC-11), Blue Dog Whip - Phone: (202) 225-6401
- Jason Altmire (PA-04) Phone: 202-225-2565. This genius went on Fox Noise to express his "skepticism" on health care.
- Bobb Bright (AL-02) - Phone: (202) 225-2901
- Ben Chandler (KY-06) - Phone: (202) 225-4706
- Travis Childers (MS-01) - Phone: (202) 225-4306
- Lincoln Davis (TN) - Phone: 202.225.6831
- Tim Holden (PA-17) - Phone: (202) 225-5546
- Jim Marshall (GA-08) - Phone: (202) 225-6531
- Charlie Melancon (LA-03) - Phone: (202) 225-4031
- Colin Peterson (MN-07) - Phone: (202) 225-2165
- Mike Ross (AR-04) - Phone: (202) 225-3772
- John Tanner (TN-08) - Phone: (202) 225-4714
- Gene Taylor (MS-04) - Phone: 202.225.5772
Remember these members have already voted Yes on the House bill, so when you call, thank them for their vote and ask them to hold firm in that position and vote Yes again. Talk about the abortion language only if they bring it up.
- Baron Hill (IN-09), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy - Phone: (202) 225-5315
- Joe Baca (CA-43) - Phone: (202)225-6161
- John Barrow (GA-12) - Phone: (202) 225-2823
- Marion Berry (AR-01) - Phone: (202) 225-4076
- Sanford Bishop (GA-02) - Phone: (202) 225-3631
- Dennis Cardoza (CA-18) - Phone: (202) 225-6131
- Chris Carney (PA-10) - Phone: (202) 225-3731
- Jim Cooper (TN-05) - Phone: 202-225-4311
- Jim Costa (CA-20) - Phone: 202-225-3341
- Henry Cuellar (TX-28) - Phone: 202-225-1640
- Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03) - Phone: (202) 225-5406
- Joe Donnelly (IN-02) - Phone: (202) 225-3915
- Brad Ellsworth (IN-08) - Phone: (202) 225-4636 - by the way, Ellsworth is running for the Senate to replace Bayh. If you can create some pressure within the party, that could work well.
- Mike Michaud (ME-02) - Phone: 202-225-6306
- Earl Pomeroy (ND) - Phone: (202) 225-2611
- John Salazar (CO-03) - Phone: 202-225-4761
- Zack Space (OH-18) - Phone: (202) 225-6265
- Charles Wilson (OH-06) - Phone: (202) 225-5705
Please make a few of those calls. Make as many calls as you can. Get your friends and family and neighbors to call. If you have friends or family that live in the districts of the people I listed, call them and get them to call. Flood their offices. They need to hear from us. Let's get health reform done - together, all of us, on the same side - on the side of reform. Let's roll.