Tonight the House of Representatives voted to pass the health care bill by 219 to 212. Every single Republican voted against the bill, including the three Representatives from Wisconsin: Reps. Paul Ryan, Jim Sensenbrenner, and Tom Petri.
Wisconsin’s five Democratic members of Congress all voted in favor of the bill: Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore, Dave Obey, Ron Kind, and Steve Kagen.
Jim Sensenbrenner, who represents Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District which includes parts of Jefferson, Milwaukee, and Waukesha counties, and all of Ozaukee and Washington counties, explained his no vote in a press statement released right after the vote:
“The simple fact is the outcome of this vote is a disappointment for America, our Founding Fathers, our children and our grandchildren. The majority was not listening to the American public as I did in my numerous town hall meetings this year.
“I question how this law will cost our nation in the long run.
“I fear what another government entitlement program will do to our nation. We can only have more people riding in the cart than pulling the cart for so long.
“And I am saddened that our children and grandchildren will be strapped with the burden of paying for this law.
“While some may think tonight’s vote is the end of the health care debate, it really only marks the beginning of strong efforts by me and others to repeal this misguided legislation and replace it with a true bipartisan plan that the American public will support. I will not rest until this is accomplished.
“I believe in reforming health care, however, a $1 trillion government takeover that hurts small businesses, increases taxes on all Americans and good Wisconsin companies, such as GE Healthcare and others, is not the way to do it. This bill had zero bipartisanship, which led to bad health care policy.”
Sensenbrenner then noted that a number of states expressed interest in challenging the reform bill, even prior to tonight’s vote. He agrees with that challenge.
“I will do what I can to assist in the repeal of this legislation and replace it with bipartisan legislation that works to improve access and care, protect coverage, increase competition and establish tort reform,” the Congressman said.
Sensenbrenner, who has on occasion crossed the aisle to work on bipartisan issues, sent a letter to President Obama in September of 2009 – after the President gave a nationally broadcasted health care speech – in which he offered his assistance in establishing a medical liability component for the health care legislation.
“I never heard back and the bill’s language never changed,” the Wisconsin Congressman said. “This led me to believe that there was never an intention of bipartisanship or a genuine desire to include tort reform or other Republican ideas, just more empty rhetoric and promises.
“As lawmakers, we shouldn’t just be pushing to get something done. We should be working together to get it done RIGHT.”
The bill now goes on to President Obama for signing into law.