23 November 2009

Bob Menendez: My new Senate health care hero

The U.S. Senate acted relatively responsibly this past weekend and worked through the day and evening on Saturday to comment on, and then vote on, whether to bring its health care reform bill to the full Senate floor for debate.

The measure passed on Saturday night by a margin of 60-39. (Those 39 votes were all by Republicans who apparently don't care if you're sick and uninsured.)

I watched some of the floor comments on television and online. A lot of points were made on both sides (some more valid than others).

But, of all of the drama that took place on the Senate floor on Saturday, there was one scene that stood out to me the most. That was a speech by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who spoke out brilliantly in favor of health care reform. Here is a sampling:
"Those who have chosen to block any attempt at health care reform this year are on the wrong side of history."
And then he enumerated how the Republicans throughout this century have done the same thing -- attempted to block social progress:
"There are those who raised the specter of socialism then, and said 'No' to Social Security. They said 'No' to unemployment insurance when President Roosevelt proposed it as part of the Social Security Act. They said 'No' when John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson fought for Medicare. 'No' to the Civil Rights Act. 'No' to the Voting Rights Act. 'No' to the Clean Air and Clean Water Act. They said 'No' to job programs. 'No' to increasing unemployment insurance when people needed it the most. They have said 'No' to government oversight of polluters who poison our land with toxic waste, and then they have said 'No' to cleaning it up.

"They have been on the wrong side of history for almost a century on every major piece of legislation that has leveled the playing field for average Americans. And they are on the wrong side of history once again. All we hear from the other side of the aisle is the dim echo of the past, with no plan for the future..."
And then it gets even better as he starts talking about insurance company greed.

Watch the whole speech on YouTube (9:34) here.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:41 AM

    But do you have a brain? Menendez gets it wrong on civil and voting rights which only passed due to support of Republicans. I will assume he is just ignorant. No one would accuse a Democrat of lying! On the other issues, he is flat wrong. Do you know that the economic impact of unemployment insurance is to increase unemployment? Do you know that most of the other social legislation passed by Democrats since the 1930s has been more responsible than any other factor for both economic slowdowns and chronic poverty? Do you realize that Social Security has locked us into an intergenerational battle that has both denied proper annuities to the retired while guaranteeing that retirees see an ever declining return for the investment they have made in Social Security all their lives? The program was designed with these flaws and was opposed for these reasons, in addition to the fact that it was unconstitutional. Get your facts straight!