Sen. Lincoln Condemns Potential Move to Forgo House Health Care Vote

Posted March 16, 2010 at 4:55pm

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) on Tuesday condemned House Democrats for contemplating a move to approve the Senate-passed health care reform bill using a procedure that would allow them to avoid an up-or-down vote on the measure.

Lincoln, facing a contested Democratic primary in May and a competitive general election beyond that, released a statement urging House Democrats not to use a self-executing rule that would “deem” the underlying, $875 billion Senate-passed health care reform bill passed upon passage of a reconciliation package.

Under this plan, House Democrats would vote on the companion reconciliation bill, and this action would result in automatic approval of the Senate bill. House Democrats have not yet settled on this strategy.

In her statement, Lincoln calls on her Democratic primary challenger, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, to “stand with me” in her criticism of the potential House maneuver.

Lincoln’s full statement reads:

“Arkansans and most Americans are demanding more accountability from Washington, not less, so I believe that any plan to approve major reform without actually voting for it simply won’t fly outside the beltway. The Senate had a full and transparent debate on health care reform last year. Because of my efforts, the original Senate proposal and the final Senate bill were both posted online 72 hours prior to their respective votes so that the public could review the bills. I took the additional step to post to my official Web site the bill language and every amendment that the full Senate considered to give Arkansans the opportunity to review the proposals.”

“The House should vote on the Senate health bill under normal rules,” Lincoln continued. “I noticed that Bill Halter has called for more accountability in Washington, so I expect him to stand with me and support transparency throughout these final stages of the debate on health insurance reform.”