As reported earlier, House leaders have stripped the Kucinich amendment from the House health care reform bill. This amendment would help nullify legal challenges against efforts by individual states to enact their own single-payer systems.
To my surprise and disgust, Politico reports that Nancy Pelosi has also signaled her intention to renege on her promise to allow a symbolic floor vote (aka the Weiner amendment) for HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.
According to Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America, one avenue of appeal remains regarding these efforts:
Democratic House leaders can insert what is called a “Manager’s Amendment” into legislation, even when it is closed to any other amendments. The managers are the majority and minority members who “manage” debate for the bill on each side.
Today, tomorrow, and beyond, we need to call these “managers” and insist that the Kucinich Amendment is restored into the healthcare bill….
The “gang” that holds our future in their hands includes:
* Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Washington, DC, office (202) 225-4965; San Francisco office (415) 556-4862
* Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: Washington, DC, office (202) 225-4131; Greenbelt office (301) 474-0119; Waldorf office (301) 843-1577
* Rep. Henry Waxman: Washington, DC, office (202) 225-3976; Los Angeles office (323) 651-1040
*Rep. Charles Rangel: Washington, DC, office (202) 225-4365; New York office (212) 663-3900
* Rep. George Miller: Washington, DC, office (202) 225-2095; Concord office (925) 602-1880; Richmond office (510) 262-6500; Vallejo office (707) 645-1888
It’s crucial for everyone in PDA to make these calls, to make them more than once, and to tell others to make these calls. Act NOW!
The ellipsis in the above quote covers the following line, with which I part company with PDA:
We also need to urge these leaders to exert pressure on Speaker Pelosi —- and exert it on her ourselves —- to follow through on her promise to put the Weiner Amendment to a vote.
People I respect greatly disagree with me on this point, but I think it’s tactically foolish to waste a final Hail Mary effort on a double request. The likelihood that leadership will bend on either of these requests is minuscule, but if they do bend at all, it will be to allow the purely symbolic HR 676 floor vote as a sop to single-payer supporters and take no action to restore the Kucinich amendment, telling progressives that one for two isn’t bad.
I will call leadership, but only to demand restoration of the Kucinich amendment. California, Pennsylvania, and other states with active movements to establish their own single-payer systems deserve that measure of help.