There is an old saying that all politics is local. Congressional black caucus member Artur Davis (AL-7) released a statement that he will vote against the current the health care bill. Although Davis represents a Democratic district, he is planning to run for Governor of Alabama. All the pressure from Obama, Pelosi, Waxman, and the congressional black caucus could not sway Davis, as he knows the sentiments of the people of Alabama. The power of the people will trump caucuses and whips.
His statement actually has some good points:
I have wanted for seven years to vote for a bill that would improve the quality and availability of health care. But after analyzing this legislation for two weeks, I have come to the conclusion that the House bill is the wrong approach and unless it changes in a substantial way, it will not have my vote on the floor.
My concerns match questions I have heard from every sector of the state. The cost of the bill is too expensive a burden during a time of trillion dollar deficits, and the results, which could still leave over ten million individuals uninsured, are too uncertain. The decision to base mandates for businesses on the size of a company’s payroll gives every small business in America an incentive to hire fewer workers—a wrongheaded approach when an economic rebound depends on those companies beginning to hire again. I have raised other concerns that the congressional leadership has not come close to addressing: the bill does not even require congressional campaign committees to insure their employees, an omission which many of my constituents would find hypocritical. Unlike some of my Republican colleagues, I recognize that our current system is flawed and demands significant changes. I would support a variety of reforms, including subsidies for middle and low income Americans to purchase insurance; tax credits that small businesses would use to cover the costs of offering insurance; and an end to the practice of denying or restricting coverage for individuals who suffer serious illnesses.
The Senate is starting to debate its own bill and the President and the congressional leadership will have over a month to absorb the legitimate criticisms of the legislation in the House. I hope that a month provides time for common sense and a far less partisan approach. The numerous Alabamians who have lost their health insurance or never had it have an enormous stake in the outcome.
The point about exempting congressional campaign committees is one that I’ve not heard and a good one. If a true blue Democrat and Obama sycophant like Artur Davis can see the flaws in this bill and will vote against this bill, there is no excuse for any Republican or so called Blue Dog Democrat to support it.
This is a reminder that all politics is local. As we focus on Blue Dog Democrats, there may be other issues and situations that may force certain members of Congress to heed the demands of their present or prospective constituents. Are there any other solid Democratic representatives running for higher office? If so, they better listen to Artur Davis.