The Minnesota House of Representatives debated overriding the governor's veto of a bill extending GAMC, the health care program for the poorest of Minnesotans today.
Here are some of the main points of the debating parties (live-blog)
Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL-North St. Paul) - "Many of these folks are people who have served our country. They stood up there and we clapped for them. We owe them this. This makes me sick... There's no shame in me or anybody voting 'yes' on this. There's no shame for anyone who votes for the needy in our society."
Rep. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids) - "We have 8,000 veterans who are on GAMC. There's an invisible brigade of these people who come out seemingly from the woods. We have to make sure that we take care of these people. We had the Red Bulls here the other day and we applauded their service. Let's show these 8,000 that we support their service, too"
Rep. Larry Howes (R-Walker) - "If we wait 48 hours and we get a good financial report, then you've got my vote. But not today."
Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) - "The people who don't see the emergency, haven't ... talked to the people who see how important this is."
Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R- St.Cloud) - "The green votes were a show of good faith to say 'let's work together.' The expectation is it would go to conference committee. Some of us may be guilty of naivete or trust, but we're not guilty of being dishonest... The calls I've received even before session have been to take care of GAMC recipients. We all want to solve this problem. There are reforms we need to do to this program, and there's a chance here to put those changes in place."
Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) - "If we put this bill into law, we will help our budget situation. The cost of the old program is $1 million a day. If we put this into law, we cut that in half."
Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) - "The override addresses one side of the issue. When we think with our hearts, we fail to recognize the details... We have people getting benefits that they do not pay for, and people paying for benefits that they do not receive. People are struggling; times are tough." (Hamilton was one of the Republicans who voted to override the governor's gas tax veto a few years ago)
Rep. John Ward (DFL-Brainerd) - "When I vote, I vote my conscience, my constituents, and my caucus, in that order. The governor was quoted as saying, 'God is in charge.' I couldn't agree with that more. My faith and the God that I serve taught me early in my life that I need to take care of and fight for my brothers and sisters less fortunate than me."
Rep. Doug Magnus (R-Slayton) - It's a sad day when 25 percent of the homeless single males are veterans. We increased the funding for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans last year. The message we're hearing today is 'homeless veterans with no place left to go.' That is not true. I can't stand silently by and have my fellow veterans raised up as a flag as the poster child for homelessness."
Rep. Erin Murphy (D- St. Paul) - 2200 veterans died last year because they didn't have health care.
(Bob notes: Today's debate is showing a reality of politics at the Capitol this year. It's all about the veterans.)
Rep. Tony Cornish (R-
CornishGood Thunder) - "Nobody is going to make me feel shame today no matter how many times you mention 'God.' Don't pull the Bible out any damn time it's convenient. Pull it out when we talk about abortion or gay rights. I went to church yesterday, too. Just because I vote against the override, doesn't mean I'm any less a Christian."
Rep. Carol McFarland (R-White Bear Lake) - "The ones (calls) that have been misled is the faith community."
Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) - "We want a bill the governor could sign. The outcome of this vote is certain; we know we're going to uphold the governor's veto. The members of this caucus are doing so to return to the negotiating table."
Rep. Doug Magnus (R-Slayton) - "The Red Bulls get five years of medical coverage when they return."
Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-
St. PaulMinneapolis) - "The choice before is not to stop negotiating; we can continue to do that. Our decision today is simply a choice today is whether we're going to go forward with... the more expensive version, or Rep. Murphy's bill. We've been working on this for nine months."
Rep. Denise Dittrich (DFL-Champlin) - "This solution is far less expensive than the governor's plan. This plan covers more people. Our deadline has arrived."
Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague) - "There's a false choice being offered...that we can override the governor today or all these people go unserved tomorrow. The choice we have today is whether we continue negotiations and find a solution that we all agree on... I don't know whether government can be moral or compassionate. That's for the people."
Rep. Larry Hosch (DFL-St. Joseph) - "Many of the people on GAMC have become disabled. Our most vulnerable people... we may be the next ones who have to rely on GAMC. I have my values rooted in my faith. Our bishop sent a letter about the importance of maintaining the dignity of all people... "
Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud) - "Many of us on our side are saying, 'enough.'"
Rep. Andrew Falk (DFL-Murdock) - "What happens if we lose these small community hospitals. If you have a farm accident, a car accident, a stroke or heart attack, where do they go if they're not there to provide the care? For me this is an easy vote. I'm voting to protect my hospitals."
Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield) - "We're trying to help someone else out. Our side believes government spending can be a good thing. What I hear from the other side is government spending is bad in good times and bad times."
Rep. Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) - "The people who worked hard to come up with fix are being short-circuited today. Not for one minute do I believe anyone in this room does not want to find a solution for those who need it the most. I will not question your motives, I will not question your morality, I will not question your commitment to solving this problem."
Rep. Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm) - "We have to be honest with ourselves. These are the two choices that were before us when the governot vetoed the program last may, when we started work on it 9 months ago, when we took a vote on it a few weeks ago, when we worked on it over the weekend, and they were the two choices we have today. I wish there could be a bridge between these two solutions... there is not."
MOTION TO OVERRIDE VOTE (90 votes are needed):
There's still a chance another override vote can be taken later. Rep. Sertich changed his vote to "no" so that he could be on the "prevailing side." Only a member on the prevaling side can move for reconsideration.
Like Rep. Zellers, I don't question the motives of anyone voting not to override the governor's veto. I do, however, question the connectedness to reality of those who claim that we have time to continue negotiating in the absence of the (admittedly short-term) Berglin-Murphy solution. This is not about intent; this is about outcomes. And a failure to override means the premature death of my friends and neighbors--a deeply immoral outcome no matter what people intend.
Is it me, or does Tony Cornish contradict himself in the same quote?:
Rep. Tony Cornish - "Don't pull the Bible out any damn time it's convenient. Pull it out when we talk about abortion or gay rights."
So, he doesn't want the Bible cited for specific instances....so he proposes citing it in specific instances. If he is going to utilize the Bible as a factor in his votes, why is he afraid to acknowledge it on an issue other than abortion or gay rights?
He was upbrading DFLers for invoking God in this debate but not invoking it whenever a gay rights or abortion bill comes up.
I guess I'm on record here that the issue of morality and religion is a central tenet of this issue, both sides have invoked it, but there's very little coverage of the role religion is playing at the Capitol. That's too bad. It more important to the people of Minnesota than whether Tim Pawlenty is endorsing John McCai in the Arizona Senate race.
Both sides invoke religion, but as we see, each side is fond of using it when it is convenient for their position. Nice little trap Cornish set up; if any issues arise regarding abortion or gay marriage, I wonder if he will openly use the Democrats' previous support of biblical principles against them.
All of which is utterly terrifying, of course, being that so many of our legislators have decided to use the Christian Bible as their edict for morality. One wonders what kind of backtracking would occur if it was pointed out that legislators like Pete Stark & Keith Ellison are perfectly capable of moral behavior without the Christian Bible.
Rep. Thiessen's district isn't St. Paul, but Minneapolis. Also I think Rep. Cornish is from Good Thunder... good live blogging though.
I'm disappointed but not terribly surprised about the failed override attempt. It is funny how fast the Republicans changed their tune as soon as Gov. Pawlenty said that he was going to veto the bill. If it was a bad bill in the first place, then why did you vote for it? If the rationale for the GOP members voting to uphold the veto was anything other than (paraphrasing) "the governor didn't like the bill", then I applaud them.
Are there new facts or other options for those who voted for it before they voted against it? Ugh, just tired of the same politics and both parties needing to completely stick together vs. thinking for themselves. Is there anyone out there who is willing to do the right thing in this situation? If the GAMC bill is (suddenly) flawed, what IS the right answer?
//if he will openly use the Democrats' previous support of biblical principles against them.
I was watching Rep. Kohls tweets (and others) during the debate. He was tweeting that it's such a shame that "politics" has entered the debate. I always love that one -- when politicians are shocked -- shocked -- that anyone would invoke politics.
But what you describe above IS the nature of politics, time being spent hanging people on their words. Don't like reconciliation? "Well, you used it in 20XX. Filibusters? " It's all about keeping score.
I did sense a seriousness about the issue that I don't often sense at the Capitol anymore. When the vote was taken, it seemed pretty darned quiet to me.
The reality is that any House Republican who breaks ranks to vote to override will face the same unrelenting abuse that the former "Override Six" went through. And those six never had to deal with the Tea Party folks (at least in an organized way).
It's time for the Speaker and her folks to move along and get the people's business done to the best of their ability and get out of town. The whole idea that there is actually any real "negotiating" taking place on any issues of significance is almost humorous. Sure, they may be talking, but I seriously doubt the folks on the other side of the table are listening. And that cuts both directions.
There's no real negotiating with the party of 'No' - be it at the state or US capitol. What's their position on the issue? The opposite of what the other side said. The merits of the issue don't matter. We only have to show the American people that the other side is wrong on everything.
I look forward to ads this fall featuring John Kerry ominously intoning "I voted for it before I voted against it" and then showing the 'honor roll' of Republicans who voted yes for the bill but no for the override.
If it was a good bill last week, why is it a bad bill this week? It reeks of partisanship and following our out-of-town Governor's need to be "tough on spending" over the actual needs of our local citizens.
Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?
Pure hypocrisy on the part of the Republicans who first voted for it and then voted against it.
It is neither compassionate nor fiscally responsible to defeat this bill.
I think you are using the poor to get to the number 1 (one) thing. that is your political future and to keep the people out of the mix .well it is time to get out of office . lets see your health program after what you take for being a political being.
This vote does not represent Minnesota. Minnesota has a strong history of caring for its vulnerable citizens, from BOTH parties. What went wrong here? Raise my taxes, but please let's provide for those most in need.
The many appeals to negotiation are meritless. This bill was intended as a temporary stop-gap while a final solution for GAMC is worked out. "Let's negotiate the temporary solution intended for the duration of our negotiations a little longer". The governor's position is clear: This administration gives no alms. How does one negotiate with that position? Particularly when the legislature demonstrates this clearly that it will back down to _any_proposal Pawlenty puts on the table?
Rep. Zellers is full of hot air. This caucus is spineless. Its motives are clear, as are its priorities.
I wish I lived in a district with Republicans in the House and Senate so I could devote all my energies to informing my neighbors of this shameful act.
Does anyone know how to see the votes when the veto override vote was taken? I went to the Legislative site and can see how everyone voted originally when only 9 voted against this bill, but I can't see the 46 or 47 who voted against the override. Also, is this up for a re-vote tomorrow? Is that what "Motion for reconsideration" and "Motion to lay on the table" means? It looks like only 39 or 40 voted "no" to reconsider the veto override. Can anyone clarify? Thanks!
The House Journal records the votes.
The House is not scheduled to be in session again until Thursday, so that would be the soonest another vote could be taken.
" The question recurred on the Murphy, E., motion that S. F. No. 2168, Chapter No. 182, be now reconsidered and repassed, the objections of the Governor notwithstanding, pursuant to Article IV, Section 23, of the Constitution of the State of Minnesota and the roll was called. There were 86 yeas and 47 nays as follows:
Those who voted in the affirmative were:"
has the list of recorded roll call votes on pages 8052-53 of the journal. See also page 8054.
The roll call vote on the audio begins around the 90 minute mark. There is a gap of over 3 minutes between the time the speaker announced the vote and when any voting results can be heard.
The speaker announces the voting results around the 94 minute mark. She only gives number total votes, and does not list who voted what.
The voting is done electronically, so is not via voice vote like in the U.S. Senate.
I understand the desire by Pawlenty to look tough on budget issues and the Republicans i nthe legislature to like they are sticking together as fiscal hawks. But of the many items in the state budget, why try to prove your point using those who are the least able to survive the cuts? Make your stand on roads - force us to drive with potholes and congestion. Make your stand on education - force 50 kindergardeners in a class. Make your stand on parks - close them all and don't let us camp or hike. Don't make your stand with the most vulnerable people as your pawns!
Why does Rep. Cornish feel so strongly about what he believes the Bible has to say about gays and abortion, but apparently doesn't feel strongly at all about what the Bible clearly says about infidelity and fornication, at least based on his behavior in St. Paul? Just wondering.