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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Put her down as a maybe



Democrats in the U.S. House today resurrected debate on the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or S-CHIP, after making a few tweaks designed to win over the dozen or so Republicans needed to dozen or so Republicans needed to override President Bush's veto of the original.

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, has been widely viewed as a popular supporter. But based on her speech on the House floor this afternoon, Buzz wouldn't count her among those who might be turned.

"You can take horse manure and roll it in powdered sugar and it doesn't make it a doughnut. That, ladies and gentlemen, I think is kind of what we have here today."

Here's her entire speech to the House:

"Mr. Speaker, I think we sometimes need to look back and see to how we got where we are.  On March 13, 1996, I was in the Florida Senate. I pulled up an old newspaper article that talked about the 'million-dollar team of tobacco lobbyists figured they had their votes yesterday to override the Governor of Florida. Then Senator Ginny Brown-Waite of rural Hernando County stood to address the chamber.  Her vote was crucial to the tobacco companies who wanted to scuttle Florida's tough anti-tobacco law.  They thought they had her.  But they didn't know that in the last 26 years, she he had lost her mother, father and sister, all smokers, to cancer.'

"I stood up and said, and it's quoted in here, 'I can't sit here any longer and play the tobacco game,' Brown-Waite said in a hushed, emotional voice. 'I was awake all last night laboring over this.'
Minutes later, pro-tobacco forces withdrew their motion.'

"Ladies and gentlemen, the reason I am bringing this up is this is where the money came from for the original SCHIP bill.  It was because of overturning that vote and other states then followed to go after the tobacco companies for funds for third party reimbursement.  That's where the money came from for the SCHIP program.  I was proud of that vote. I was very, very proud of that vote. I think the tobacco companies for a long time lied to the American public.  So, after that, that was in 1996, after that in 1997, Congress created the SCHIP bill.  Great use of the tobacco litigation third party reimbursement money.  Great, great use for it.  In Florida, we created our own program from it. 

"But what we have here today is kind of what a farmer in my district once told me.  He said, you can take horse manure and roll it in powdered sugar and it doesn't make it a doughnut.  That, ladies and
gentlemen, I think is kind of what we have here today.  It's a magnet for illegal aliens.  We have income disregards in here that will encourage states to disregard anything at all.  There are no guidelines.
They can disregard any form of income, child support, child care costs, anything that they want, to get to that 300% of poverty level.  This is not about supporting the President and the override.  Lord only knows, this President knows he cannot rely on my vote because I have stood in this chamber and voted to override his veto of the stem cell bill.  I disagreed with him on many, many issues. 

"Madam Speaker is absolutely right.  This is about the children.  Like her I'm a mother and a grandmother.  Wasn't it interesting that she couldn't use the word illegal.  It was undocumented.  Whether she prefers to call them undocumented or illegal, this is a magnet which will draw even more people, illegally; I don't have a problem using that word, illegally into this country.

"If children really are what my friends on the other side of the aisle care about, then why did they hold up this vote for two weeks?  Now kids on November 11, unless we can really, really compromise, they will be without healthcare.  I think that is cruel.

"I think we need to get serious. I told Majority Leader Hoyer this morning that this bill is just so outrageous.  I almost wish I could turn back the clock and change my vote.  I never thought I would
say that.  I absolutely, Mr. Speaker, never thought I would say that.  I was very proud that have vote.  We need to make sure that we do cover kids and that we get serious about seriously negotiating a good bill. Not a bill called a doughnut."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:23am]


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