Sometimes it does make sense to throw the baby out with the bath water, at least that is what is being suggested by Allen Boyd, a “blue dog Democrat” from Florida. Actually the Idea was suggested by one of his constituents:
When a questioner, Ray Evans, said he believed the President wants to do too much at once and asked whether Boyd would “be willing to scrap everything” and start over to do pursue reform more incrementally, the congressman responded: “I think that is an excellent idea … we may end up there.”
In a later interview with CNN, he said the idea had been been floated with the congressional leadership. He said that with the strong emotions and heated opposition he is seeing, the idea of doing health reform in a more piecemeal fashion is something he is strongly considering.
Boyd may be on to something, the blue dogs won’t vote for a plan with a Public Option, the liberals won’t vote for one without that Option. It a may be that the only way Obama gets a heath care plan is if they toss everything out, and restart from the beginning with a bi-partisan committee.
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The blue dog Boyd held three town hall meetings today and was met by a contentious but polite crowd
Acknowledging his amazement at the crowds gathered to debate health care at his town halls, Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Florida, faced three large gatherings on Monday with many questioners voicing skepticism about the proposals being debated in Washington.
“Never have I had this attendance … that is a good thing,” Boyd said as he started his third event of the day.
Boyd represents a conservative area in northern Florida. A fiscal conservative, he is part of the Blue Dog coalition.
At the first event of the day in Cross City, he held up a copy of the bill passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee and embraced by the congressional leadership.
“I cannot support this bill in the version it is in now,” he said. “We can do better. We can make it better.”
He emphasized to the skeptical crowds that he will work to reduce quickly-rising medical costs; that any bill must not add to the deficit; and that Blue Dogs like himself fought to delay consideration by the full House of Representatives to allow members to hear directly from constituents during the August recess.
Boyd’s constituent’s issues went beyond Obamacare, they were upset about the size of government:
“Government is supposed to be for the people. [It] already took over banks and the car industry. We don’t want to take over the health industry,” said one questioner, Ann Millard. “If government gets involved, the insurance industry can’t compete with the government.”
A hot topic at each of Monday’s events was whether illegal immigrants would receive benefits under the bills under consideration – an unpopular idea as judged by the audience reaction when the topic was mentioned. Each time an audience member declared illegal immigrants should not received any benefits, the remark was met by strong applause.
“This comes up at every meeting,” Boyd said in Perry. Earlier in the day, he quoted directly from the bill.
“Page 143, line 3,” he said. “No federal payment for undocumented aliens; nothing in this subtitle shall allow federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States. Does that answer your question?”
The crowds were never unruly but they did make it known when they heard something they didn’t like.
Some questioners at the town hall meetings bluntly asked Boyd if he and other members of Congress would give up their government coverage and join whatever health-care plan they enact for the nation.
Several others asked about illegal aliens and other welfare issues, even the Wall Street and automotive bailouts, in pressing Boyd to say how and why the government should take on medical matters.
“The Congress we’ve got today reminds me of a jackass running in the Kentucky Derby,” Jackie Shaw told Boyd. He said polls indicate that about 75 percent of those with insurance are satisfied, and that “we’ve got enough problems with our economy” without Congress changing the health-care system.
“Where in the Constitution do you find the legal authority to do any of this?” asked John Twinem of Old Tow, citing the auto bailouts and AIG-rescue legislation. When Boyd began to say the executive and legislative branches have often changed social policy, Twinem replied, “That sounds like a Pontius Pilate answer.”
Several questioners confronted Boyd, saying he is siding with the Democratic congressional leadership, particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, rather than representing the views of the more conservative constituents.
“Somewhere along the way you drank the Kool-Aid,” one person in Perry told him.
“If we let Pelosi and people like that direct us we are doomed, we are doomed,” business-owner Joe Anderson said in Cross City, at which point the crowd erupted in cheers.
Boyd did not defend Pelosi, but moved on to other subjects and said he understands his first mission is to do what his constituents want. Boyd was re-elected last year with 62% of the vote in his district.
Don’t you wish they all felt that way?