The historic health care reform bill passed the U.S. House Sunday night. The final tally to approve the measure was 219-212, with 34 Democrats joining a united Republican caucus to vote against it. The $940 billion plan would expand health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans while imposing significant reforms on the insurance industry. The U.S. Senate passed its version back in December.
After the vote, President Obama thanked the Democratic leadership in the U.S. House including South Carolina’s Sixth District Congressman. “We proved that this government, a government for the people and by the people, still works for the people. I wanted to thank every member of Congress who stood up with courage and conviction to make health care reform a reality. I know this was not an easy vote for a lot of people, but it was the right vote. I want to thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her extraordinary leadership, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn for their commitment in getting the job done.”
After consideration of part of this reworked measure in the Senate, it goes to the President’s desk to be signed into law as early as Tuesday.
Prior to the vote, South Carolina Republican Congressman Gresham Barrett spoke out against the two-part bill that he says will hurt job creation. ” If this bill passes thousands of mothers and fathers and hard working South Carolinians will be without a job. Businesses will be saddled with new taxes resulting in additional layoffs, cutbacks, and businesses closing. South Carolina taxpayers will pick up the tab for sweetheart deals that Democrats made behind the scenes to muscle this bill through Congress.”
After the vote, Barrett said “Just because this legislation has passed does not mean the fight is over. I will do everything in my power to defend South Carolina’s 10th amendment rights against these excessive federal government mandates.”
The South Carolina Hospital Association issued a statement prior to the vote thanking Sixth District Congressman Jim Clyburn for his work in supporting the legislation. Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday morning prior to the final debate and vote, Clyburn, the Majority Whip, talked about his role as official vote-counter. “In doing vote counting, you try to sometimes work backwards. You look at what it is you’re dealing with, and then you look at the members who have issues you must reconcile, and you start counting back. That’s the way I do it,” says Clyburn.
State Attorney General Henry McMaster says he is set to file a lawsuit along with Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum against the measure calling its approach unconstitutional. McMaster says the stipulation that a person must purchase health insurance is not right: “It’s the national government requiring a citizen to buy something that he may or may not want to buy. There’s no authority in the Constitution that allows Congress to do that.”