Sean’s already touched on this but in light of both the op-ed in the Tennessean where Jim Cooper announced his “reluctant no” to HR 3200 (summary), and the appearance on Face the Nation Sunday morning I have to say something. Cooper’s segment starts 9 min into the video below.
Cooper offered two key points in the interview above. The first was the tax benefit to the super rich for “Cadillac” policies (12:00). He’s right about this being a handout on the backs of the working poor and middle class. That needs to be corrected. Also, he pointed out that there is currently $700b in waste EVERY YEAR. That alone would pay for healthcare for everyone.
Looking at these two things, one has to wonder why he would come out against HR 3200? The bill seeks to do these things, and if it doesn’t to his or the Blue Dog’s satisfaction, there’s time to debate and amend on the House floor. Why is Cooper, who Bob Schieffer called “a Real Expert” on healthcare just giving up? That’s what it sounds like he’s doing!
I ask you, Congressman Cooper, what specific areas does the bill “Fail”? Is it that it may not be budget neutral? If you remember, the Iraq war was billed by Paul Wolfowitz as “budget neutral” yet the Congress, as well as your Blue Dogs haven’t sought to apply PAYGO to the DoD. If healthcare requires some initial investment that may not pay off for 15 years, isn’t that a better investment than a war that will likely NEVER provide any ROI?
Why do you damn your own party with statements like ”The president is put in a terrible spot by his own Congress.” Aren’t you a member of that same Congress and a member of the majority? Aren’t you hurting the President’s agenda by coming out against something before markup is even completed? What’s the rationale at work here Congressman?
Is this really about healthcare or more of a slap at the current House leadership? It’s well known that you and Speaker Pelosi have a contentious relationship, particularly after his statement concerning the stimulus vote back in February. Maybe Cooper wanted a spot on Energy Commerce after whipping for Henry Waxman back in November. Maybe he REALLY DOES have objections, but not listing those objections out in his damning of HR 3200 does NO ONE ANY GOOD.
If you are truly committed to healthcare reform, as you have repeatedly said, then why not just define YOUR objections and offer alternatives? Why not lead instead of lending your voice to the echo chamber of nay-sayers on the Republican side of the aisle?
I just don’t get it Congressman Cooper. I don’t understand what you have to gain by coming out against something and claiming it doesn’t have the votes to pass before it’s even gone through a key committee, especially after a deal was reached late Friday between Waxman and Ross. It’s weird, on the very same day you came out against HR 3200, a fellow Blue Dog Gabrielle Giffords (AZ) came out in support of it. Maybe you don’t have all the votes you thought you did.
I know I’ve been critical of you over the years. Late last year I made a commitment to focus on the idiocy brought forth by Republicans rather than criticizing members of my own party so much. So far, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of maintaining that commitment, but damn you’re making it hard for me. So without being overly critical, without being as brusque or as rude as I could be, give us some REAL details about your objections to HR 3200, because so far all you’ve done is said it isn’t good enough, which isn’t a good enough reason for me to believe you.