Let’s suppose you live in a city with a 35% (!) unemployment rate and you lose your job. 

And let’s suppose your region isn’t the only one suffering from extraordinarily high unemployment. Unemployment is rampant, but unevenly distributed. You just happen to live in one of the worst places.

To help people like yourself, Congressman Smith from another state is sponsoring the New Jobs for America Bill  (NJAB) to stimulate job growth and provide benefits to the unemployed until the economy picks up.  

Would you expect your own Congressperson to vote YES on the NJAB? Or would you be happier if he or she said, “Hell, no, we don’t want no stinking new jobs in our area,” then votes NO and proposes his own We Don’t Want Your Stinking Jobs Bill?

Well, about 100 members of the House of Representatives did exactly that in the health care reform arena, voting against help for those without insurance, in spite of constituencies with 1-in-3, 1-in-4 and 1-in-5 uninsured. Most were from districts in Florida, Texas and California, as well as other parts of the south and west. Almost all were Republican. 

To add to the craziness, minutes after the bill was signed into law, Virginia, Idaho, Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Washington, Alabama, Michigan, and South Dakota filed lawsuits against the federal government to prevent it from providing health insurance to large numbers of their uninsured. What? 

Remember what John Boehner (Rep, 0H-8) said just before the vote about how important it was to listen to and represent the needs of one’s constituents, not just vote the party line?  He told them he was listening to them, probably in reference to the Tea Party slogan, "Listen to Me!"

To be fair, Boehner doesn’t have an unusually high number of uninsured in his district --only 12.40% -- but he did receive $2,728,844 in campaign contributions from the health care industry.  Which constituency was he listening to when he voted NO? 

Boehner isn’t the only one beholden to the industry, however. There are plenty sitting on both sides of the aisle.

(On the other hand, Charles Rangel (Dem, NY-15), from a district with 18.20% uninsured,  accepted $3,867,249 in contributions, but voted YES. Go figure.) 

Why would voters keep returning people to Congress to vote against their best interests? Does this make any sense? 

Here are a few names from the list of NO voters representing districts with high percentages of uninsured. You might recognize he name of a few who have been in Congress for many years.  

Joseph Barton                     TX-6                23.20% uninsured
Roy Blunt                              MO-7              19.50%
Lincoln Diaz-Balat               Fl-21               31.30%
Mario Diaz-Balat                 FL-25              31.30%
Kay Granger                        TX-12              25.70%
Ron Paul (!)                          TX-14              24.00%
John Mica                             FL-7                20.70%
Connie Mack                        FL-14              26.10%
Darrell Issa                           CA-49              21.90%
Charles Young                      FL-10              22.70%
Pete Sessions                     TX-32               35.70%
John Deal                             GA-9                 23.20
Virginia Brown-Waite          FL-5                 24.80%
Michael Conaway                TX-11               27.00%
Mary Bono Mack                  CA-45              24.10%

And the list goes on.

For a complete look at how members voted, how much they received in campaign contributions from the industry, and how many in their district are uninsured, see:



03/25/2010 08:19

I understand legislators' fear of burgeoning, uncontrollable expenses. The real issues are:1)how do we manage medical costs? And 2)how do we spend taxpayer dollars to best care for the populace?

My votes are for education, healthcare, infrastructure and environment. Time to get out of wars so we can use those dollars here.


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