Last night, some on Twitter expressed anger at Tom Perriello for voting yes on the Stupak Amendment, limiting access to funding for abortion (those in the health exchanges would not be able to use federal funds or subsidies to pay for insurance that covers abortions). But Perriello has taken fire in his district, including a bruising summer meeting with teabaggers and holding townhalls meetings throughout his district. I believe he actually has spent more time dealing with angry citizens than most of his counterparts. He's put himself in the line of fire. Here's what Lowell said.
CheersI heartily concur with that assessment. Personally, I strongly oppose the Stupak Amendement and will do all I can to encourage Congress to remove it in conference. If that fails, I will continue to work behind the scenes to help create more understanding of why this is bad law and needs to be changed. But we couldn't let a good bill be shot down by one bad amendment. The old cliche that you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good applies here.
Tom Perriello (5th CD): It wasn't easy, but in the end he did the right thing on the overall bill, voting "yes." More than that, Tom Perriello proved himself a courageous leader when he faced dozens of angry "town hall" meetings in August, presented his views firmly but respectfully, listened to his constituents, read the bill, thought long and hard about it, and then voted the way he thought was right. That's extremely admirable, and I just wanted to thank Tom Perriello for being a thoughtful public servant who takes his job extremely seriously.
That said, a productive response is to move on, pass the bill, but know that our work is not over. There is nothing to prevent us from continuing to press for a change in law down the road.
Others who deserve our thanks include Gerry Connolly, my representative; Bobby Scott; and Jim Moran, all of whom voted for the health care bill and also voted no on the Stupak Amendment.
On the other hand, two Virginia Democrats voted against the health care reform bill, Glenn Nye and Rick Boucher. Again, I agree with Lowell, who writes:
Glenn Nye (2nd CD): Arguably, the biggest disappointment among any Democrat in the House of Representatives, Glenn Nye added a "no" vote on this historic legislation to his previous "no" vote on historic climate and clean energy legislation. Unfortunately for Glenn Nye, voting over and over against history could make him...well, "history" in 2010. Bad, bad mistake, both on substantive policy as well as political grounds by Nye. I'm already hearing serious rumblings of a potential primary challenge to Nye. Stay tuned... [Note: in fairness, I should mention that Nye voted "no" on the Stupak amendment, but that hardly makes up for his vote against the overall health reform bill]And of Boucher
Rick Boucher (9th CD): For years, many of us progressive activists figured that Boucher was simply the best we could get from a tough district politically. And, indeed, Boucher votes about 98% of the time with his Democratic colleagues. Still, last night's vote by Boucher against health reform was not good. Not good at all. [Again, in fairness, Boucher voted no on the Stupak amendment.]In cases like this, I would defer to the best judgment of local progressive grassroots and netroots activists on what they want to do about primarying local electeds based on votes. Based on last night, I've been hearing more anger at Nye, whom Lowell called "arguably the biggest disappointment..."
For now, we have more to be happy about because this long fought for bill passed one of its biggest hurdles - making it out of the House. Next, the Senate takes it up and then it goes to conference. So, our work isn't finished by a long shot, but let's take a moment to savor one victory down. And to thank our local congressmen who helped make it happen.