Veto Message from the President to the Republiban re: HR3762 ACA Repeal

— by Vickie Rock, Humboldt Democrats

After the 62nd vote to repeal “Obamacare” (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) which has now been upheld by the Supreme Court TWICE, the Republiban members of Congress finally managed to pass HR 3762. Inaptly named, the bill that would have done the exact opposite of its title: “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015.”  Restoring “Americans'” freedom?  Nope!  More like restoring the freedom for Insurance Corporations to give Americans the short shrift related to any hope of accessing healthcare insurance and thus health care itself.

And just so you know, each and every Nevada Republican in the House of Representatives, Rep. Mark Amodei (CD2), Rep. Joe Heck (CD3), and Rep. Cresant Hardy (CD4) voted FOR passage of HR 3762 (as well as a large number of previous bills) which would not just repeal the Affordable Care Act for millions of Americans who can barely afford health insurance as it is, but would have also revoked any and all funding received by Planned Parenthood by folks who not only can’t afford health insurance, but can’t afford health care either.  Senator Dean Heller also voted FOR passage (repeal) in the Senate in December preceding the vote in the House.

Today, at the stroke of his pen, President Obama showed us exactly HOW important it is that we have a Democratic President in the oval office as he promptly and unceremoniously vetoed their wasted efforts.  Here’s his message back to Congress:

TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 3762, which provides for reconciliation pursuant to section 2002 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2016, herein referred to as the Reconciliation Act.  This legislation would not only repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, but would reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America.  The Affordable Care Act includes a set of fairer rules and stronger consumer protections that have made health care coverage more affordable, more attainable, and more patient centered.  And it is working.  About 17.6 million Americans have gained health care coverage as the law’s coverage provisions have taken effect.  The Nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever, and demand for Marketplace coverage during December 2015 was at an all-time high.  Health care costs are lower than expected when the law was passed, and health care quality is higher — with improvements in patient safety saving an estimated 87,000 lives.  Health care has changed for the better, setting this country on a smarter, stronger course. 

The Reconciliation Act would reverse that course.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million after 2017.  The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that this reduction in health care coverage could mean, each year, more than 900,000 fewer people getting all their needed care, more than 1.2 million additional people having trouble paying other bills due to higher medical costs, and potentially more than 10,000 additional deaths.  This legislation would cost millions of hard-working middle-class families the security of affordable health coverage they deserve.  Reliable health care coverage  would no longer be a right for everyone:  it would return to being a privilege for a few.

The legislation’s implications extend far beyond those who would become uninsured.  For example, about 150 million Americans with employer-based insurance would be at risk of higher premiums and lower wages.  And it would cause the cost of health coverage for people buying it on their own to skyrocket.  

The Reconciliation Act would also effectively defund Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood uses both Federal and non-federal funds to provide a range of important preventive care and health services, including health screenings, vaccinations, and check-ups to millions of men and women who visit their health centers annually.  Longstanding Federal policy already prohibits the use of Federal funds for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the woman would be endangered.  By eliminating Federal Medicaid funding for a major provider of health care, H.R. 3762 would limit access to health care for men, women, and families across the Nation, and would disproportionately impact low-income individuals.

Republicans in the Congress have attempted to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act over 50 times.  Rather than refighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, Members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle-class families, and create new jobs.  Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto.

The Republiban may have used procedural shenanigans to enable them to pass HR 3762, but to override President Obama’s veto, the Republiban would need a two-thirds affirmative vote on repeal bill.  The don’t have that.  This was all for show for the rabid GOP base heading into the November election.  But more than that, it’s a serious red-flag warning to Democrats that if we don’t overwhelm the polls this November to begin taking back Congress, and instead all the Republiban to hold onto Congress plus, take the White House, you can kiss the American Dream goodbye and buy the coffin as it will truly be dead.

522

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Senate Democrats Urge Support For Legislation Barring Insider Trading By Members Of Congress

PRESS RELEASE
January 30, 2012
Official news and legislative information
from Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

The STOCK Act Strengthens Disclosure Laws, Increases Transparency and Ensures that
Members of Congress Play By The Same Rules as Everyone Else

Legislation Set to Receive Key Vote This Evening in U.S. Senate  

Washington, DC—Today, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Jon Tester (D-MT) urged support for the STOCK Act, which is set to receive a vote in the Senate this evening.  The STOCK Act bars insider trading by members of Congress and their staff.

“We need to take this common sense step to begin restoring the trust that’s been lost in our government,” said Senator Gillibrand, the first member of Congress to post her official daily schedule, all earmark requests and personal financial disclosure online. “The American people need to know that their elected leaders play by the exact same rules that they play by. They also deserve the right to know their lawmakers’ only interest is what’s best for the country, not their own financial interests. Members of Congress, their families and staff shouldn’t be able to gain personal profits from information they have access to that everyday middle class families don’t. It’s simply not right  — nobody should be above the rules.”

“This law makes crystal clear that Members of Congress must not be exempt from laws everyone else has to follow,” said Senator Stabenow. “Any Member of Congress abusing his or her position for personal financial gain must be held accountable. The Senate should overwhelmingly approve this bill this week, and the House should follow suit immediately.”

“The STOCK Act brings much-needed accountability to Congress and should be an easy lift,” said Senator Tester.  “I don’t care if you work on Wall Street or in Congress – you should not be using privileged information to enrich yourself.”

Fact Sheet: Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act)

The American people deserve to know their lawmakers’ only have one interest in mind: doing what’s best for the country, not their own financial interests. The STOCK Act is a common sense, bipartisan measure that clearly and explicitlyprohibits insiders trading by members of Congress and their staff.  In addition, the bill strengthens disclosure laws so that members of Congress must report within 30 days when they buy or sell stocks, bonds or other securities, and must make that information available online for their constituents to see. 

The STOCK Act Clearly Prohibits Insider Trading in Congress.  Under the STOCK Act, members of Congress and their staff will explicitly be barred from buying or selling securities on the basis of non-public knowledge gained through their Congressional service – or from using that knowledge to tip off anyone else.  It is not true that Congress has exempted itself from insider trading laws.  However, some legal experts have questioned whether an insider trading case could be brought successfully against a Member because, they argue, it is not clear that members owe anyone a duty not to trade  material non-public information, in the same way that, for example, a corporate executive has a duty to the company’s shareholders.  The STOCK Act makes it clear that trading on non-public information would violate the duty of trust members of Congress and their staff owe their constituents by establishing a clear fiduciary responsibility. [Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, January 2012]

The STOCK Act Significantly Strengthens Disclosure Requirements.Currently, members of Congress annually disclose the purchase or sale of securities and commodities. The STOCK Act not only imposes a tough 30 day disclosure requirement, but also requires that the information is published online to ensure complete transparency and easy public access to the information. [Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee,January 2012]

The STOCK Act Requires GAO To Investigate Role Of “Political Intelligence” Firms.  The STOCK Act requires the Government Accountability Office to investigate the role of “political intelligence” firms, which try to learn inside information from lawmakers and their staffs and sell that information along to private clients. [Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee,January 2012]

House Republican Leaders Blocked the STOCK Act. Majority Leader Eric Cantor ordered Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus to cancel a publicly announced mark-up of the STOCK Act in December. “Cantor delivered the cease-and-desist order on behalf of GOP leaders, other chairmen and rank-and-file lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who were concerned that Bachus could help give the bill life by having the committee approve it.” [Politico, 12/8/11; CNBC, 12/9/11]