Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Associated Press: Obama heckled by GOP during speech to Congress

The Associated Press: Obama heckled by GOP during speech to Congress: "South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted 'You lie!' after Obama had talked about illegal immigrants.

It wasn't the only interruption during Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress in the House of Representatives. Earlier, Republicans laughed when Obama acknowledged that there are still significant details to be worked out before a health overhaul can be passed."

Maybe Wilson thought he was writing a comment on somebody else's blog. Good grief. Is there any civility left in this society?


Fred Pilot said...

Maybe Mr. Wilson is trying to remake Congressional decorum more like that of the British House of Commons where heckling is acceptable.

Don Nordeen said...

Mr. Wilson's shout occurred after the President said that illegal immigrants would not be covered. Mr. Wilson immediately offered an apology. We occasionally open mouth before engaging brain.

Representative Steve King of Iowa published a letter to the editor in USA Today, Health care plan doesn't require proof of citizenship, that helps to explain the question concerning illegal aliens. Yes, HR 3200 excludes illegal aliens, but it also prevents health care providers from determining immigration status.

Mr. Obama's speech was basically fiction. He seemed to imply that he was describing the bills in Congress. But, Mr. Obama made many assertions that are not in HR 3200.

It seems likely that he will sign any health care legislation. What did he describe? His personal views, a professorial perspective, what he wants Congress to do?

What counts are the bills in Congress.

I hope someone can explain what Mr. Obama's speech represents. I'm confused.

Amy said...

I can't believe the inappropriate and disrespectful behavior towards our president.

Anonymous said...

“I can't believe the inappropriate and disrespectful behavior towards our president” Amy

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

“I’m confused.” Don Nordeen

During his address last evening to a joint session of Congress President Obama said, “There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.”

Following Obama’s affirmation, “The reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally,” South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson was moved to shout, “You lie.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs explained Obama was declaring that under his plan illegal immigrants would not get health insurance.

Less than a month ago Obama said, “We’ve got 46-47 million people without health insurance in our country.”

Last evening (sic) “What did he describe? His personal views, a professional perspective, what he wants Congress to do? What counts are the bills in Congress.” Don Nordeen

H.R. 3200, the legislation that the House will be voting on, would allow illegal aliens to benefit from the government-financed public option, and includes no verification provisions to prevent illegal aliens from receiving taxpayer subsidies to purchase private health insurance.

President Obama's assertion that illegal aliens would not be covered under AAHCA is directly contradicted by an August 25 report, Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200, issued by the Congressional Research Service. The nonpartisan research arm of Congress concluded, "H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitizens - whether legally or illegal present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently - participating in the [Health Insurance] Exchange."

Once in the Exchange, participants are free to enroll in the government run health insurance program. This public option, established under H.R. 3200, would be heavily or entirely subsidized by the American taxpayers. While illegal aliens are barred from receiving "affordability credits" to help pay for private insurance, CRS noted the absence of any mechanism in the bill to verify citizenship or legal residency.

There is no reason why the controversy over whether illegal aliens will be eligible for massive health care subsidies should persist. President Obama, congressional leaders, and the public all agree they should not. The authors of H.R. 3200 can easily remove the ambiguities from the House bill, and Senate leaders can include specific language barring illegal aliens from all nonemergency benefits in the bill being written in the Senate.

“What counts are in the bills in Congress.”

Beth said...

Yes, illegal immigrants could enroll in the health exchange. In other words, they could buy their own insurance. Currently, there is no law forbidding immigrants, illegal or otherwise, from buying their own health insurance. I'm unaware of any public benefit that would result from passing such a law. People buying their own insurance costs taxpayers nothing and in fact potentially saves us money (because these people can still show up at an emergency room and get treated, insurance or not).

Politifact has addressed these claims:

It's worth taking the time to read info from sources other than party hacks (from either party).

Don Nordeen said...

Beth, thanks for the link. Below is a relevant excerpt:

"The Republican conference then says, "Fact: Nothing in any of the Democrat bills would require individuals to verify their citizenship or identity prior to receiving taxpayer-subsidized benefits, making the president's promise one that the legislation itself does not keep.'"

We dug into the facts and found the Republicans were partly right and gave them a Half True."

When President Obama said health reform would not insure illegal immigrants, it was technically true but only provided part of the information. What is the effect of something that is prohibited in the law if there is no means of enforcement? As a result of the outburst, the press is now reporting that an amendment to insert enforcement provisions was defeated in committee.

Similar uncertainties exist with regard to the abortion statement by the President. An amendment to specifically prohibit coverage for abortion was also defeated in committee. Without the specific exclusion for abortion, the question of whether or not abortion is covered becomes a legal question for the courts to decide. The language can be specific.

Congress is certainly capable of writing clear and unambiguous language. The vague language is interpreted different ways by different people including President Obama. The problem isn't the partisan rhetoric, it is the vagueness in HR 3200.

Politicians want it both ways. President Obama said that the time for game playing is over. That should apply to the language in the bills.

Beth said...

I don't entirely agree with your assessment, Don. On one hand, I share your dislike of vagueness, particular where hoas are concerned. :)

On the other hand, imo it's better for federal legislation to focus on the requirements/principles (e.g., no benefits to undocumented aliens) and not on all the details (e.g., how this will be enforced) because legislators aren't going to be knowledgeable about operational details and legislation can be difficult to update.

That said, I do understand why you think differently, and you have provided good examples of how the philosophy I just outlined can go wrong.

A Washington Post article on this topic was interesting too, I thought:

Unrelated comment: the WP also had an interesting article about h.s. kids learning 9/11 as history. I can't make up my mind about whether the article is reassuring (life goes on) or depressing ("Kids! I don't know what's wrong with these kids today, doo be doo bedoo!")

Beth said...

Yesterday, I also meant to say before I got sidetracked that Don is right that politifact rated the HRC claim "half-true," but the reason is not in the quoted part. They said:

"So let's recap. There is explicit language in the House bill that says illegal immigrants should not receive the subsidized benefits. But we find the Republican conference is right that the legislation does not directly mention verification procedures and, for that reason, it's possible that illegal immigrants who are determined to beat the system might be able to get around the ban. But it's likely that the IRS would, at least indirectly, help to police that. And, the health choices commissioner would have the authority to set up a verification system. On balance, we rate the Republican claim Half True."

They also gave Wilson himself a "false." Boehner got a "true" today, though, for a different claim.

Anonymous said...

what some of the ignorant people(deen nordeen)
need to know is that not all non-citizen are illegal immigrant.