Both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly passed resolutions last night criticizing the new federal health care overhaul.
The House of Representatives took up a resolution that literally asks Congress not to pass health care reform – weeks after it has already happened.
Representative Richard Montgomery, a Republican from Sevierville, expressed frustration.
“Bottom line is, this program is passed, it’s gonna be initiated. I hope and pray that it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to the United States. I’m worried that it’s not.”
After two hours of in-fighting, the House passed the resolution along party lines.
The state Senate passed a resolution from Speaker Ron Ramsey once more urging the state Attorney General to sue over the constitutionality of the federal plan. Eight Democrats voted against it.
Members were sometimes vague on the underlying concepts, as in this exchange, when Nashville Democrat Brenda Gilmore asked the resolution sponsor, Mount Juliet Republican Susan Lynn, if she knew what Medicare was.
Lynn: “Largely, Medicare is a program to help the poor.”
Gilmore: “Seniors … not necessarily the poor, seniors.”
The House resolution is HJR 704 Lynn.
The House vote is here.
A number of Democrats voted for the resolution, but all 29 No’s were from Democrats.
The abstract prepared by legislative staff explains that the resolution:
Expresses opposition to the institution of new federal review, oversight, or preemption of state health insurance laws, the creation of a federal health insurance exchange or connector, and the creation of a federal health insurance plan (public plan) option.
Memphis Democrat John DeBerry, who eventually sat at his desk and refused to cast a vote on the resolution, criticized his colleagues for wasting time on the matter.
“You know this is the very reason folks think we’re out of our minds down on this House. Now look at what we’ve down for the past two hours. On a bill that has already passed in Washington, We’ve talked on it and talked on it and talked on it and talked on it. On both sides of the aisle, both of us are guilty of this.”
The Senate resolution is SJR 897 Ron Ramsey.
The measure (according to the state summary):
Urges Attorney General and Reporter Bob Cooper to join other states in contesting the implementation of any unconstitutional provisions of the federal health care legislation.