This week begins the final push to pass federal healthcare reform legislation, and the Democrats will have to do it without the help of U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco. He released the following statement:
“I voted 'no' on the House health care reform bill, and I will be a 'no' vote on the Senate health care reform bill. At a time of massive federal deficits, I believe these bills could make those deficits worse. In Budget Committee today, I am voting against using the reconciliation process to pass the Senate bill.
I am especially disappointed that my common sense proposal for a fiscal trigger was not included in the House or Senate bills. No one can predict with absolute certainty the new costs and cost savings of such a massive reform bill over 10 to 20 years. That is why I believed it was critical to include a trigger to automatically reduce the costs of the bill if the projections turned out to be wrong, particularly since our nation is facing serious federal deficits.
Over the past year, I have listened to thousands of people all across our district on the issue of health care reform. What I have heard is that people generally like the quality of their present health care and don’t want big government or big insurance companies to stand between them and their doctors. They also believe we must do something about ever higher health care costs that are hurting families and small businesses. I agree and that is why I had hoped Congress would develop a bipartisan health care reform plan I could support. However, I will not vote for any health care reform bill, unless I believe it is the right thing to do.
Americans deserve health care reform that will protect the quality of our present health care system while reducing its costs.”
Here's the audio:
This afternoon, in the House Budget Committee, Edwards followed through on his promise to vote against using the reconciliation process, which passed anyway with a vote of 21-16. That will sidestep a potential filibuster by allowing Democrats in the Senate to pass a health care bill with only 51 votes.
UPDATE: Edwards' potential general election opponent, Republican Bill Flores, who is currently in a primary run off with Rob Curnock, released a statement indicating that more opposition was needed than a mere vote. Here's that statement:
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues her headlong rush to pass a disastrous government takeover of American healthcare. The voters of the 17th District want a Representative in Congress who will do more than just vote against an obviously destructive bill. Chet Edwards should be using every ounce of his energy to encourage other Democrats to vote against this bill, delivering floor speeches, holding press conferences – it is time for him to do anything within his power to stop this bill. That is the kind of Representation voters can expect if I am given the opportunity to serve them.”