Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sen. Feingold: No Health Care Bill Before End of Year

- and perhaps, not at all. Uh-oh.

Feingold: No health care bill before Christmas
(8/25/09 Lakeland Times) [emphasis is mine]

"U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold told a large crowd gathered for a listening session in Iron County last week there would likely be no health care bill before the end of the year - and perhaps not at all.

"It was an assessment Feingold said he didn't like, but the prospect of no health care legislation brought a burst of applause from a packed house of nearly 150 citizens at the Mercer Community Center.

""Nobody is going to bring a bill before Christmas, and maybe not even then, if this ever happens," Feingold said. "The divisions are so deep. I never seen anything like that."

Senator Feingold, who is the proponent of health care reform in principle, doesn't think the "reform" that's on the table right now is a right one. He favors experimentation and evidence-gathering before proceeding:

"The senator, a declared proponent of health care reform in principle, nonetheless did not seem too concerned about a potential failure of the Obama administration's effort. He said there was merit to the idea of trying a variety of proposals in various states first.

""Lindsay Graham and I sponsored legislation to have pilot programs in five states," Feingold told the audience. "Maybe we should try some different things. There might be a single-payer state. There might be a co-op state. Let's get some evidence on the ground. This thing right now is not going in the right direction. We might be in a situation where there won't be a bill worth passing.""

The Senator allayed some fears regarding several contentious issues in the current health care "reform". He said the public funding for abortion, which was removed from the House bill, won't be re-introduced in the Senate bill. He was also willing to join the "rest of us" in the health care plan, if he was eligible. (Under the current "reform", Congress would be exempt.)

What I liked most about Senator Feingold, though, was his repudiation of Harry Reid's "evil-mongers" comment:

"Finally, Feingold repudiated Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's remarks calling vocal critics of health care reform at town hall meetings "evil mongers." Feingold called Reid's remarks unfortunate and inappropriate. "I've been listening to the people for 16 years, and I have never impugned their motives," the senator said."

One participant in the Senator's townhall meeting seems to summarize the national sentiment quite well:

""This issue has definitely awakened a sleeping giant," the man said. "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.""

Senator Feingold does not support cap and trade scheme, and he opposes "legislation to require gun registration, and he said such legislation would die a quick death in the Senate."

If you recall, he was the only Senator who voted no on the original Patriot Act. He also voted no on the resolution that authorized President Bush to invade Iraq. He is a Democratic Senator from Wisconsin.

(On these issues, he seems like my kind of Senator. Instead, here in California we have Feinstein and Boxer.)


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