Got a call from Niki Tsongas for virtual town hall.
She is describing the shutdown, simply put no long term or short term bill passed blaming the house for not clean CR. Saying clear bill would pass, and advancing the idea that it’s all about the House. Talking the Senate clean CR, saying the bill should be passed.
Pushing the history of the passage of Obamacare again the whole, “it’s the law business” It’s a wonder the people fighting integration didn’t use these same arguments.
Now pushing the benefit of Obamacare.
Talking about the number of people who have visited but not the number of people who have actually signed up.
Talking about both sides of the aisle.
Terry from Clinton: If you are confident on Obamacare why isn’t congress signed up for it, why are some allowed to opt out?
Tsongas: Misinformation. Individual mandate everyone must purchase insurance as all Massachusetts people do. We will have to demonstrate coverage. cited husband’s illness as knowledge of this issue.
Noting Sen Grassley forced congress on the exchange notes federal government will continue to provide kick in, says it’s “fair” for them to continue to get subsidies as most people looking for jobs look to see what benefits are offered.
Colleen from Haverhill: Why is congress still getting paid?
Tsongas: Congressional pay is mandated by constitution people have to decide to not take it. Mentions no gov no pay act of 2013. I will not be accepting pay & will return it.
Steven from Fitchburg: Anything we can do to force the vote?
Tsongas: continue to push 88% in poll said that they wanted the vote. gave link to survey
Brian from Gardner: What are we going to do if nothing happens by the 17th.
Tsongas: The votes are there if it takes place, Debt should be looked at but ceiling shouldn’t be held hostage. Talking about sequestration, not a fan but has cut spending. Stock Market starting to show trembles. We have to stay at it. Should look at medical device tax later. Must honor spending in place.
Roger from Lowell: Budgets were passed this year, no conference committee, talk about that.
Tsongas: Talks regular order Says Ryan budget too many cuts but it passed & senate passed budget 1st time in years. Normal process is conference committee. Describes how a conference normally works. Says House GOP will not go to conference. Need long term solution & end sequester. We need targeted spending cuts & new taxes (revenues is how she put it)
Charlene from Marlborough: Disillusioned with Democrats. I pay for my healthcare I don’t have wavers, why should some get wavers & not me. Not seeing fairness. Disgusted with the WW 2 vets memorial asked for help on that.
Tsongas: Sorry we lost you, thanks for hearing us through. Unfortunate that shutdown effected vets. I do know an effort was made to allow them in. Father survived Pearl Harbor attack. Glad they are able to find a way forward (doesn’t mention Barrycades®) On insurance more expensive to have people uninsured due to bankruptcy and cover those who can’t. Reforms help benefit everyone, talks pre-existing condition coverage.
Glenn from Gardner: When will president Obama stop capitulating to GOP? Entirely Republican Bill
Tsongas: You’re right, based on Romneycare, says it’s a Heritage bill. Debate on public option just wasn’t the votes at the time.
Jane from Haverhill: Are federal employees being paid
Tsongas: 800k employees are not, but last week house voted on Employee retroactive pay act, passed strongly bi-partisian. Some comfort that will come.
John from Haverhill: asked about signatures already gotten. Is there a legal reason.
Tsongas: Speaker has absolute control but there is a discharge petition, takes a month, needs majority. Democrats will sign it, don’t know if house GOP will sign. Majority has control it’s how house works. He holds the cards unless the American People produce outside pressure. Hope it happens.
John from Clinton: Want them to take a vote, in favor of Obamacare it’s already law.
Tsongas: Letter to editor, happy with Obamacare because of college kids still on plan. Saved over $4k because they could after car accident.
Annie from Fitchburg: Why does the president not just go pass the debt ceiling on his own? Loves affordable car act.
Tsongas: Saw an article about WalMart making more employees full time as an attraction to better workers. Says more businesses in MA offered health insurance.
Jim from Lowell: Disagree, as independent, I don’t want straight line vote, only opportunity to force a meeting. I see socialized medicine and those people come here.
Tsongas: I think linking the two (government shutdown & obamacare) is a bad idea. Says president did negotiate in sequester, hoped for long term solution. This will harm our economy.
Michael from Gardner: (question was answered so comments on companies at one time taking care of employees and not happening anymore. Inundated with the uninsured. Upset with Speaker of House
Tsongas: Just starting to recover credits end of high income Bush Tax Cuts for more revenue. Call ill afford shockwaves. No insurance is hardship on hospital. More insured more reimbursement.
Out of time didn’t get to ask my question left it as voice mail
1. Question the point of compromise is to find things you can agree on. The House has passed several funding bills with bi-partisan votes to fund NIH, monuments & vets, will you urge Harry Reid to bring these bi-partisian bills up for a vote?