Unions Take Hard Look At Lawmakers Who Voted Against Health Bill While Tea Party Promise To Fight On
Roll Call: "Industry groups, labor unions and other stakeholders in health care reform offered up their parting shots on Monday, airing lingering grievances with the historic legislation or praising a bill that, after more than a year of tussling, now awaits President Barack Obama's signature. The union-backed coalition Health Care for America Now plunked down $1 million Monday for a week's worth of television advertising in Democratic House districts to thank 'individual members of Congress for stopping health insurance companies from killing reform,' according to a statement by the coalition." Union lobbyists also promised "not to meddle with House-passed revenue fixes that are now before the Senate in a budget reconciliation bill." The Advanced Medical Technology Association, which represents device-makers, and American's Health Insurance Plans also said they would not oppose the bill but some groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are increasing their opposition (Murray, 3/23).
USA Today : "One advocacy group Monday began making 700,000 recorded phone calls to voters in a dozen congressional districts, blasting Republicans who voted against it. Meanwhile, conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh told listeners that Democrats who voted for it should 'be hounded out of office' and GOP officeholders promised repeal efforts, state-by-state resistance to key provisions and court challenges. ... After a year of debate, the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll and other national surveys showed neither side convinced a solid majority of Americans that they were right. With a bill enacted and taking effect, the effort to define the legislation may only intensify" (Page and Hall, 3/23).
The Hill: "While happy that the healthcare bill passed, organized labor has been frustrated with Democrats who have been unable to move much of their agenda on Capitol Hill in the 111th Congress. ... A number of members who voted against the healthcare bill - such as Reps. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Mike McMahon (D-N.Y.) and Space - have already emerged as potential targets for the labor movement. Several were lobbied heavily - or even threatened with a rescinding of support - in efforts to win their votes over the weekend" (Bogardus, 3/23).
The Associated Press/Seattle Times: "Tea party activists aren't just angry that Democrats passed a major health care overhaul, they are out for revenge. They do not see passage of the landmark reforms that usher in near-universal medical coverage as the end of the debate. ... They are demanding the bill be repealed or not funded and want to kick out of office all supporters of the measure. So far, the nascent movement has almost reveled in its rebellious and grass roots nature and has avoided becoming as much a part of the establishment as the Republican and Democratic parties. But some tea party organizers see the health care debate as a galvanizing force that could stir its followers to greater action and something to rally around with midterm elections this year" (Farrington, 3/23).