Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says passage of the bill Thursday that made modifications to the health care bill is a “legislative two-fer.” The modification bill was the last step in moving the health care reform legisation forward.
“It’s been a big historic week here in Washington,” Harkin says, “despite all the talk recently about how American has become divided and ungovernable, we have proved not only that we are governable, but also that we still have the capacity to act with boldness and vision to improve the economic security of working Americans in very powerful ways.”
Harkin made his comments during a conference call with reporters and was asked how the health care bill proved the country wasn’t divided and governable if no Republicans voted for the bill.
Harkin says Democrats bent over backwards during the last year-and-a-half to try to involve Republicans every step of the way. He says the health committee he chairs had numerous open sessions, and bipartisan meetings on the issue. Harkin says the Republican opposition was purely political.
Harkin says he came to the conclusion last summer when “Republicans walked away from this” that they took up the cry of one senator who said they were going to make the health care bill President Obama’s Waterloo, and if they stopped him here they could stop him on other things. “Republicans just decided they were gonna dig in their heels and kill this reform bill rather than continuing to work,” according to Harkin.
Some Democrat house members say they have received threats for supporting the health care bill, Harkin said he has not received any such threats. Harkin says,” I just think what we really have to do, and I especially call on our Republican colleagues, to start speaking out against those who inflame passions.” Harkin says when someone caused a disruption in the gallery of the house during debate, Republicans were cheering. “I mean this is bad behavior, what are we teaching our kids?,” Harkin said.
Harkin says it’s okay to disagree, but you should do so politely.