I've been watching the debate on CSpan all day - very busy over on Twitter...
If you were watching and playing a drinking game where you took a drink every time a Republican said "government takeover" or "freedom" or "liberty," you would have had alcohol poisoning early in the day.
If you have not been watching here are some must read about events:
We got off to a bad start when Pelosi gave into a vote on the Stupak Amendment barring funding for abortion.
Late yesterday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops met with leaders in the House of Representatives in their bid to eliminate women's access to abortion care under health care reform.
We have just received news that their efforts are working, and Representative Bart Stupak has introduced an amendment to the health care reform bill that will result in women losing health care coverage for abortion.
We urgently need you, and your friends and family, to call your representative. After you call, just reply to this message and let us know how it went.
If the bishops and their anti-choice partners in the House succeed, they'll permanently alter health care in America, even taking away benefits from women that they have today. The bishops want to effectively eliminate abortion coverage in both private plans and the public option. We simply cannot stand for such a discriminatory, mean-spirited attack on women.
Twitter was a flutter with all of use reporting in calls to our reps urging them to NOT support this amendment in the vote. It does not cut off funding just for those in a Public Option, but cuts off funding for a legal medical procedure from any insurance policy purchased through the health care exchange.
Then the fun began... GOP Gone Wild: Unruly Republicans Silence Women Lawmakers With Screams, Shouts, And Delay Tactics - be sure and watch the video. Remember how it is to try and debate a 2 year old? It was like that.
This morning, the House began consideration of the rule for debate of the House health care bill. As the Democratic Women’s Caucus took to the microphone on the House floor to offer their arguments for how the bill would benefit women, House Republicans — led by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) — repeatedly talked over, screamed, and shouted objections. "I object, I object, I object, I object, I object," Price interjected as Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) tried to hold the floor.
President Obama pays a visit to the House Democratic Caucus and says: 'Vote Yes' - GOP Will Attack Regardless Of How You Vote
The president, according multiple attendees, played the role of political prognosticator during his roughly 30 minute address before Democratic caucus members on Capitol Hill. Addressing, implicitly, those conservative Democrats who are worried about voting for a nearly trillion dollar health care overhaul, he insisted that they would not be safe from partisan attack even if they opposed the bill.Back at the White House, he gave another short speech:
"He certainly talked about the politics and he said that the Republicans want us to fail and no one should feel if they as a Democrat helped us to fail that they would be [free of their attacks]," said Rep. Henry Waxman, chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
"None of you can expect the Republicans not to go after you if you vote against this bill," Waxman continued, channeling the president. "They want this bill to go down for their own partisan reasons."
Now, no bill can ever contain everything that everybody wants, or please every constituency and every district. That's an impossible task. But what is possible, what's in our grasp right now is the chance to prevent a future where every day 14,000 Americans continue to lose their health insurance, and every year 18,000 Americans die because they don't have it; a future where crushing costs keep small businesses from succeeding and big businesses from competing in the global economy; a future where countless dreams are deferred or scaled back because of a broken system we could have fixed when we had the chance.
What we can do right now is choose a better future and pass a bill that brings us to the very cusp of building what so many generations of Americans have sought to build -- a better health care system for this country.
Millions of Americans are watching right now. Their families and their businesses are counting on us. After all, this is why they sent us here, to finally confront the challenges that Washington had been putting off for decades -- to make their lives better, to leave this country stronger than we found it.
I just came from the Hill where I talked to the members of Congress there, and I reminded them that opportunities like this come around maybe once in a generation. Most public servants pass through their entire careers without a chance to make as important a difference in the lives of their constituents and the life of this country. This is their moment, this is our moment, to live up to the trust that the American people have placed in us -- even when it's hard; especially when it's hard. This is our moment to deliver.
I urge members of Congress to rise to this moment. Answer the call of history, and vote yes for health insurance reform for America.
I am betting there thare has never been a debate on a bill watched by so many people. Blogs, Twitter and places like Reddit and Digg are full of citizens watching CSpan and live blogging, commenting, posting articles and links. Technology has allowed us to come together in a huge virtual living room. We've done it on election nights - but probably never before on debate on a bill on the floor of the house. Amazing.
Final remarks from both sides are being made before the vote. This bill is not all I wanted - far from it. But it is now, the bill we have. And it is a start. I'm going back to watching and twitter now. Want my attention on the votes as they are cast - which should start soon.