John Kline (R-MN-02), as Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, knows that to reform Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 will take a powerful ally employing roadblocks on the right committees.
Step aside, Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful woman in the House of Representatives is Virginia Foxx (R-NC-05) and she is right where Mr. Kline wants her.
Ms. Foxx’s position on the healthcare and education are best summed up in her own words :
And no where in the Constitution do we read the words, “the government shall provide for health care.” No where. Uh, in fact, the words “health care” are no where in the Constitution. In fact, the Constitution says that, in the Preamble, that the United States, that the people are to provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare. Well, the main goal, the main job of the federal government is to provide for the common defense. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten far, far away from that notion. Some of the things that have been done, most of the things that have been done by the federal government that are unconstitutional in my opinion, have been done for good reasons, they’re not malevolent reasons. But they’re wrong. We should not be funding education, for example. And some of us who are here tonight have talked about that in the past.
As previously mentioned, Mr. Kline has anointed Ms. Foxx as Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness.
So, not only is the person responsible for ensuring that future generations are educated, opposes federal intervention into schools, but she was also the only member of the House education committee to vote against the final legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act in 2008. Ms. Foxx said recently that she couldn’t remember why she voted against the bill. GREAT !
But Ms. Foxx’s primary role is in getting the H. R. 2 – the repeal of healthcare bill – to be voted on without amendments. That she will do in her capacity on the Rules Committee. As such, the Rules Committee held a long one-day session on Thursday … with a prime witness advocating what position the committee should take :
“We have been very clear as a party,” Mr. Kline said. “We believe we owe the American people an up or down vote on this law. I would not support an open rule.”
What’s an “open rule” ?
That’s where amendments are allowed … heck maybe even after going through a real committee review …
While Ms. Foxx handled the Chairman’s gavel for many hours of the session, the Committee heard testimony from other members of Congress involving 31 amendments of which 25 were offered by Democrats. For the record, the health care reform bill passed the House last year after the Committee held over 100 hours in committee hearings, considering 239 amendments in committee and adopted 121 including some from Republicans.
This time, there will be no committee hearings and based on the placid reactions from Ms. Foxx, no amendments will be approved.
The most striking conversation was between Congresswoman Jackie Spier (D-CA-12) and Ms. Foxx over subsidized insurance. Ms. Foxx was adamant that she was solely responsible for her Blue Cross insurance although Congresswoman Spier tried unsuccessfully to explain that the TAXPAYERS pay 72% of Ms. Foxx’s insurance and that Ms. Foxx’s co-pay is actually below the average of a majority of company plans.
Further, Ms. Foxx was unphased by concerns expressed that the repeal could affect the affordability of breast cancer screening and prevention.
Nor concerns that repeal of the current law would remove protections against prohibitions on rescissions (meaning rejections after you’ve already paid into the polidy) and rejections for preexisting conditions.
Nor funding for Community Health Centers or
providing funds to academic departments of family medicine and family medicine residency programs to increase training of family physicians … something that should be a concern to the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness.
Nor the projection that repealing will increase the deficit, increase the number of uninsured by 32 million citizens, and that many employers and private plans would end up paying more for health insurance.
No, Ms. Foxx has her orders … Just say NO. And Mr. Kline has his Roadblocker right where he wants her.