GOP Medicare Bill Rammed Through in The Dead of Night

WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled House approved a bitterly contested Medicare prescription drug bill early Saturday morning in an epic struggle settled near dawn. The final vote was 220-215.

Passage of the measure capped an extraordinary roll call that began at 3 a.m. and consumed nearly three hours before the GOP leadership could overcome a rebellion by conservatives in their own ranks and the overwhelming opposition of Democrats.

"We won it fair and square and they stole it by hook and crook," countered House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

The vote was stuck at 216 yes to 218 no for almost 3 hours, and the bill appeared on the verge of defeat, before a flurry of last-minute switches.

Dozens of lawmakers, participants and spectators both, waited out the drama of the middle-of-the-night roll call. Hastert, his lieutenants and Health and Human Services Department Secretary Tommy Thompson shuttled from one GOP holdout to another seeking enough votes to prevail. GOP aides said Bush lobbied by phone from the White House.

Nearly 20 hours earlier, Republicans projected it would pass easily. "I look forward to the presidential signing ceremony," said California Rep. Bill Thomas, a key architect of a measure making the most sweeping changes in Medicare since the program's creation in 1965.

But that was before the near-solid wall of Democratic opposition, the stubborn refusal of conservatives to bend, the hours of debate, the behind-the-scenes lobbying, the presidential phone calls from Air Force One and the still-undisclosed deals made to secure passage.

It finally passed at 6:00 am in the morning after 3 hours of strongarm communist tactics by the republican house leader Tom Delay. The bill drew the support of 204 Republicans and 16 Democrats. Voting no were 189 Democrats, 25 Republicans and 1 independent.

Here is the list of Democratic sell outs who voted yes for the GOP medicare bill, record their names and vote them out of office when they run for re-election.

alexander, rodney (LA)
boucher, rick (VA)
boyd, f. allen (FL)
carson, brad (OK)
cramer, robert (AL)
davis, lincoln (TN)
dooley, calvin (CA)
hall, ralph (TX)
john, chris (LA)
marshall, jim (GA)
matheson, jim (UT)
peterson, collin (MN)
pomeroy, earl (ND)
scott, david (GA)
stenholm, charles (TX)
wu, david (OR)

Pelosi: 'Republican Tactics on Medicare Bill Brought Dishonor to the House'

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement early this morning after Republican leaders took nearly three hours, believed to be the longest vote in the recorded history of the House of Representatives, to force several of their Members to switch their votes to pass their Medicare prescription drug bill:

"For three hours tonight, the seniors of America won the vote on Medicare prescription drug coverage. But then this vote was stolen from us by the Republicans.

"We had hoped the Republicans would want to win this vote fair and square. They didn’t. We won it fair and square, so they stole it by hook or crook. The whole time that Members were on the floor, there were overtures to Members of Congress saying, 'What do you want? What do you need?' They spent billions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money to win this vote on the floor.

"If there was ever an argument to be made for why Republicans are not fit to be in the majority in this House and why they must be defeated at the polls next year, one need only look at their conduct on the floor of this House tonight. It brought dishonor to this institution.

"America's seniors will not be fooled. They know this is not the beginning of a real prescription drug benefit under Medicare. They know this is the beginning of the end of Medicare as we know it. Democrats and seniors will not stop fighting for a defined, affordable prescription drug benefit that is guaranteed under Medicare."