Betsy Muse's blog

Senator Kay Hagan supports repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

This morning Senator Hagan held a conference call with members of the media to discuss her trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq as well as her other activities over the spring recess. She stepped out of a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting to speak with us and the first question to her was about the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Senator Hagan responded that we have a volunteer military and she feels anybody who is willing and able to serve should be afforded that right.

When pressed further as to whether she supports Senator Lieberman's bill Senator Hagan emphasized that she supports repeal of the policy, but fell short of specifically endorsing Senator Lieberman's bill.

I'm supporting turning back that bill. The department of defense is committeed to repealing the outdated policy and Secretary Gates has announced that he will conduct a study to determine how best to implement the repeal.

More on the conference call later.

Republicans got busy in Mecklenburg

Mecklenburg County Republicans have been busy. Every local, state and federal office has a Republican candidate listed on the ballot. Democrats just didn't bother.

Some of these Republicans don't stand a snowball's chance on a warm day of winning in November, but that hasn't stopped them from showing up. On the other hand, Democrats....meh.

There are 31 partisan elected positions for voters to fill in November. Democrats aren't even trying for six of them. There are 38 Democrats and 51 Republicans vying for these 31 seats.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: House Bill could reduce services for seniors

The chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has delivered his scoring of HR 3962 to members of Congress and the news isn’t good. Not only does it look like the bill will wind up costing more than projected by the CBO, the pledge that the bill will not reduce services to Medicare recipients will be difficult, if not impossible, to keep.

Some of you may remember Rick Foster from the fiasco surrounding George Bush’s Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Foster’s cost estimates for the plan were more than $200 billion higher than the CBO’s.

Announcing Live Blog with U.S. Senate Candidate Elaine Marshall

On Wednesday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m. we will have a live blog discussion with U.S. Senate candidate, Elaine Marshall. We are lucky that James was able to get this set up in the middle of all the frantic activity surrounding the healthcare debate and the on again, off again candidacies of others. Please mark your calendars and keep your eyes open for some background posts and a question thread.

Progressive Democrats of America calls House Healthcare Bill a Very Bad Bill

In an email to members this morning, Progressive Democrats of America calls HR 3962, "a very bad bill."

This bill is, so far, a very bad bill that will further enmesh corporations into our government and our daily lives without addressing the problem. It diminishes all of our rights, not just reproductive ones, by failing to recognize healthcare as a human right, not a commodity to be traded on Wall Street.

And, it does next to nothing to help Americans who are now being gouged by healthcare corporations. “if you like your insurance--you get to keep it” has morphed into “if you have insurance, you have to keep it whether you like it or not, and if you don’t have it--you have to buy it.”


Stupak Amendment Passes 64 Democrats vote to weaken coverage for women

Ahhh, Stupak and fellow Dems and Republicans want to force women using the public option to buy a supplemental plan to cover abortions even though the Capps Amendment preserves/protects the Hyde language which basically says no federal dollars will be used to pay for abortions.

Rep. Capps said current federal language is maintained. Calls this a devastating amendment.

At some point I thought they would vote for this, but I think they are waiting until after the debate on the Republican's crappy substitute.

This sucks. However, this is how they got enough votes to pass the healthcare bill. They sold out women. Nice.

There's a lot of killin' going on

I don't know if you have been following the debate on the floor of the House, but I've noticed a trend with the last two committees given time to speak. The Republicans of (I think Ways and Means) screamed and yelled about it being a freedom killin', job killin' bill. This latest group is chanting the mantra of "government takeover." They are also enjoying the scare tactic of telling people they will be jailed under this bill if they don't follow the rules.

I couldn't be in front of the teevee screen today as my daughters felt the need to stimulate the economy - though it came in the form of purchasing things they need for school. Ems will probably charge me with torture as we've been watching the debate for a few hours now. At some point, I'm sure she will head upstairs and leave me to scream at these people in this box.

The Republicans sound like broken records. Not one of them has anything fresh or informative to say.

House Leaders deny up-or-down vote on single-payer, allow a vote on blocking abortion funding

If you've been following the announcements coming out about the healthcare debate over the past two days they have certainly included some mixed messages. A couple of days ago I received an email from PDA (Progressive Democrats of America) excited that Speaker Pelosi was going to allow a 20 minute floor debate on Rep. Weiner's single-payer amendment followed by an up-or-down vote. We were encouraged to put together action plans for our readers.

From the email:

Last night PDA got word from Congressman Weiner’s office that Speaker Pelosi is keeping her promise to allow the Weiner single-payer amendment full debate and vote on the floor of the House. This will happen on Friday or Saturday.


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