Healthcare Has a Chance on the House Side of the Hill, Peace Maybe Too

By David Swanson

I left a hearing this morning at which senators debated the merits of torturing people (Lindsay Graham took the pro-torture side). I went to a rally for single-payer healthcare in Upper Senate Park. No senators were there. Yesterday Senator Baucus had more doctors and nurses arrested for asking to speak in a hearing. But House members, including John Conyers and Jim McGovern crossed the hill to be at the rally.

And the big news was that last night single-payer activists had a very positive meeting with key members of the House who want to move HR 676 forward. Congress members Hoyer, Conyers, Grijalva, Edwards, Massa, Cohen, and a congressman from Missouri whose name I didn’t get, met with Donna Smith and Michael Lighty of California Nurses Assoc. and Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America.

Reportedly, these members of Congress all want to move HR 676 to the floor for a vote. Of course, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was not there, and my understanding is that she is dead set against allowing single-payer any more on the table than impeachment.

In other news, Congressman McGovern has apparently not been successful in gaining permission through the Rules Committee to include as an amendment in the war supplemental a requirement that the president produce a plan to somehow someday exit Afghanistan. So, McGovern is expected to introduce that requirement as a separate bill tomorrow with about 50 initial cosponsors.

So, on healthcare there’s a hopeful inside strategy in the House, a need to escalate nonviolent civil resistance in the Senate, and the continued demand for public organizing. On peace, there’s no hope at all in the Senate, and only a glimmer in the House. Our job, of course, is to build on what’s there to work with and create the pressure to force more. And, ultimately, of course we have before us the tasks of removing money, media, and parties as forces of corruption, and removing the Senate as a force of anti-democracy (and I don’t mean to replace it with the health insurance companies as a branch of government, as the president apparently believes they are).

Photos of healthcare rally with Mike Farrell, PDA, CNA, PNHP, Healthcare Now, AFL-CIO, etc, etc, to be posted soon at

I’m at the Progressive Caucus forum on Afghanistan, and headed to a Kucinich event on single-payer healthcare.

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