Tag: Ted Kennedy

Considered Forthwith: Senate “HELP” Committee

Welcome to the eleventh installment of “Considered Forthwith.”

This weekly series looks at the various committees in the House and the Senate. Committees are the workshops of our democracy. This is where bills are considered, revised, and occasionally advance for consideration by the House and Senate. Most committees also have the authority to exercise oversight of related executive branch agencies.

This week Considered Forthwith will examine the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The Committee is also commonly referred to by its acronym, The Senate HELP Committee.

I settled on a different committee than I planned because there The HELP Committee has a major hearing scheduled this week.

Obama gets behind Public Option — finally!

well, sort of … in a letter, at least …


President Obama issued a public letter to Sens. Ted Kennedy and Max Baucus, the two Democrats seen as most key to the design of potential health-care legislation.

June 2, 2009

Dear Senator Kennedy and Senator Baucus:


In short, the status quo is broken, and pouring money into a broken system only perpetuates its inefficiencies. Doing nothing would only put our entire health care system at risk. Without meaningful reform, one fifth of our economy is projected to be tied up in our health care system in 10 years; millions more Americans are expected to go without insurance; and outside of what they are receiving for health care, workers are projected to see their take-home pay actually fall over time.

We simply cannot afford to postpone health care reform any longer.


I agree that we should create a health insurance exchange market where Americans can one-stop shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose the plan that’s best for them, in the same way that Members of Congress and their families can. None of these plans should deny coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition, and all of these plans should include an affordable basic benefit package that includes prevention, and protection against catastrophic costs. I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.




(emphasis added)


Strong Words, need to be followed up with Stronger Actions.

(kind an inconvenient time for a Presidential road trip, eh?)

In Praise of the Kennedys

If you want to talk Democratic ideas, look no further than the Kennedy clan. They tend to be dismissed as People Magazine American Royalty, but that says more about our media than about them. With Senator Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy having endorsed Barack Obama, and with the Clinton campaign reminding voters that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend have already endorsed Hillary, the Kennedy family is back making headlines. That can only be a good thing.

The Clintons deserve credit for having made our national health care crisis a national issue, in the 1990s. Of course, their plan was a byzantine mess, and it didn’t go nearly far enough. For that matter, none of the current leading Democratic candidates advocate single-payer national health care, so they’re all offering but different flavors of incrementalism. No surprise. As I keep writing, despite the campaign rhetoric, they are all basically traditional Democratic centrists. Of course, as I also keep writing, even as the Democratic candidates approach the major issues with nothing revolutionary, the Republican candidates rarely even notice there are issues to approach. We can argue over the nuances of the incrementalist approaches of Senators Clinton, Edwards, and Obama, but if you want a good, cynical laugh, take a look at the Republican candidates’ approaches. But if you want to talk about vision and leadership on health care, look no further than Senator Kennedy. He wrote a book about it. In 1972. He’s been advocating for National Health Insurance since the 1970s. Among many other issues on which he has consistently been ahead of the times, he’s also been advocating for clean, renewable energy sources, since the 1970s. In our government, there is no greater champion for people, the environment, and innovative ideas than Senator Kennedy. And that has been the case for decades.

I’m also a particular fan of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. I’ve long hoped he’d get involved in electoral politics, but I also understand the many and complex reasons for his not doing so. But my admiration of Kennedy has nothing to do with his father or his family; it has everything to do with his ideas. No one better articulates the rationale for environmentalism. The most common criticism of environmentalism is that it’s bad for the economy, and fundamentally opposed to capitalism. In a 2005 speech at the Sierra Club’s National Convention, Kennedy turned that around. Environmentalism is not only not bad for capitalism, it is a means of rescuing true free-market capitalism.

Department of Peace Mission Statement

Every corporation or enterprise seeking success in their core endeavors is absolutely advised to have a cogent workable “Mission Statement” with which to focus the enterprise and its workers on a common goal. A desire for Americans to live secure in their homes through a long term plan to actualize planet wide peace by means other than force of arms should be integral to America’s goals.
Establishing a Cabinet level position to enshrine and thus execute this Mission Statement is a simple commonsense act signaling that America is committed via both human and material resources to bringing life, liberty and justice truly to all.

Organizers need a Senate sponsor and are working to bring out Ted Kennedy to sponsor this bill in the Senate.
Check out the site, http://thepeaceallia…. See who is sponsoring the bill.

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