Tuesday, March 23, 2010

SFS: The real intentions behind Sen. Tom Coburn's amendment(s)

I am completely, thoroughly and entirely sickened and repulsed by how Republicans -- in this case, elected officials -- are behaving now that the House has passed the health care bill. If I had to describe it with my most honest thoughts, I'd call it some "sick fucking shit." (SFS) for short.

You know, it's bad enough that we've seen citizens carrying signs threatening gun violence, and citizens shouting "nigger" and "faggot" at Democrats in Congress, and citizens spitting on Democrats in Congress, and citizens throwing bricks and rocks through windows and doors of Democrats' offices. But now? Now we get elected Republicans acting like the absolute biggest sore losers ever on the face of this planet, except worse than that, because they weren't successful in stopping the health care reform from being passed. And they are going to deal with it by employing some SFS.

Some brief background: The House passed the bill, but made a couple changes to it. The Senate still has to vote on that version of the bill. Before that vote happens, amendments to the bill can be introduced, same as usual with any other legislation. But the Democrats in the Senate don't want any changes to be made to the bill, because if changes are made, the bill would have to go back to the House and be voted on again -- giving, in theory, House Democrats time to change their vote. So, the Democrats in the Senate want the bill to be passed exactly as it is, and will no doubt do just that (probably using reconciliation).

This is where the SFS comes into play. Republicans have apparently come up with a twisted game: let's introduce as many amendments as we can, because the Democrats will have to vote against them, and then WE get to say "HEY! So-and-so voted AGAINST blah blah blah! See how HORRIBLE of a person So-and-so is?"

Take, for example, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma (pictured). He has introduced nine amendments. One of them is called "No Erectile Dysfunction Drugs To Sex Offenders (Amendment 3556)." The amendment would, among other things, prohibit convicted rapists and child molesters and those convicted of sexual assault from receiving Viagra or any other erectile dysfunction medication. Now, I imagine most people would agree with that -- there is some sense being shown and it's an easy concept to understand and rally around. HOWEVER. Because Democrats don't want to change the bill, they would be forced to vote against this amendment. And then, come election time, every Republican can run attack ads against the Democrats who vote against this amendment. "Your Senator wants to give Viagra to child molesters and rapists! Can you believe that?! Me either, so you better vote for me, the person who does not want to give Viagra to child molesters and rapists."

See how that's some serious SFS?

Oh, and that's not all. The same amendment (PDF) also prohibits "drugs prescribed with the intent of inducing an abortion." Now, if I were to take that language to mean exactly what it says, that would be referring to RU-486, a prescribed medication that does induce abortion. I would not take that to mean emergency contraceptives such as the morning-after pill (Plan B), because that is neither prescribed, nor does it induce abortion. As we know, abortion is already not covered by the health care bill, which would include (I assume) RU-486, since that's a method of abortion. But if a Democrat votes against this amendment, not only do they WANT to give Viagra to child molesters, they also WANT people to have an abortion via RU-486. SFS indeed.

Coburn also introduced the Abortion Conscience Amendment (PDF). "This amendment would ensure health care providers are not forced to participate in abortions or discriminated against because they choose not to perform abortions." Hey, guess what? That's already part of the health care bill, and it was included again in the executive order Obama signed. It's completely unnecessary, but it serves the purpose of getting Democrats to vote against it, thus allowing Republicans to say "So-and-so wants to make every single doctor perform abortions! Especially the Catholic ones!"

Coburn isn't the only one playing this game. Sen. Chuck Grassley introduced this amendment: 
To make sure the President, Cabinet Members, all White House Senior staff and Congressional Committee and Leadership Staff are purchasing health insurance through the health insurance exchanges established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
And then when it's voted down, Republicans will be saying "This can't be a good program, Democrats don't even want the president to use it! It's not good enough for him! He's so uppity anyway." And there are many, many more amendments that have been introduced, and I'm sure more are to come.

Folks, this is truly some SFS.

Remember, Republicans banked everything on this health care bill failing. They decided not to cooperate at all. They had all kinds of chances over the past year to get involved and help shape the legislation, and they did not. And now that it has passed -- now that a bill that is designed to help Americans get better and less expensive and more accessible health care, or in some cases, health care period, has passed -- all the Republicans can do is think about ways they'll be able to attack their Democratic opponents in the future. Can they possibly be any more petty? Any more evil? Any more childish? Any more inhumane? This is people's lives we're talking about with this bill. Why don't Republicans care about that? I know they claim to care, but they couldn't be more clear with their actions: the only thing they care about is trying to get back in power. That is where their priorities are, and they will resort to the most SFS to get it.

I hope everyone remembers this come election time.

More reading:
Bob Cesca: "The Boner Trap"
New York Times: "Coburn's Unusual Amendments"
CBS: "GOP Amendment: No Viagra for Sex Offenders"

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