Monday, July 20, 2009

Action Needed: Let Gerry Connolly Know You Support Health Care Reform

I have written several posts about how I believe Gerry Connolly has done a good job so far during his tenure in the House of Representatives. His fellow freshmen Representatives have seen his ability to be a leader from early on as they elected him president of the freshman class. Unfortunately, I have to STRONGLY disagree with the action that he has recently taken in regards to health care. While he has always taken the position that we need to be careful about the potential costs of health care reform, it appears as though he’s now taken it a step forward. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Gerry organized a busload of freshmen Representatives who traveled over to the White House to ask the president not to raise taxes on the super-rich.
Also on Friday a busload of freshmen Democrats went to the White House to plead their case against sharp tax increases with the president and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. The organizer was Rep. Gerald Connolly, the president of the freshman class whose Northern Virginia district is the richest in the U.S. as measured by median household income.
What bothers me is that Gerry was also quoted as saying that one of the biggest reasons for his action is the fact that 14% of the households in his district earn over $200,000 and “they all vote.” That might indeed be the case, but what about all the families in the district who are struggling to pay their bills and cannot afford health care. They vote too and deserve to have their representative work with the administration and Congress to pass health care reform that doesn’t put the burden of an enormous deficit on future generations. One of the best ways of doing that would be to roll back the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest of Americans.

I’ve gotten to know Gerry over the last few years and I’m confident that he genuinely wants to represent the best interests of his constituents. That being said, his quote to the Wall Street Journal makes it clear that he is thinking about how this legislation would impact his re-election chances. As one of Gerry's biggest supporters and one of his constituents, I want to point out that I think this move is wrong. Supporting legislation that gives everyone access to affordable health care even if it means slightly raising taxes on the a small percentage of the wealthiest people in our country would actually help his re-election chances.

As I have been active in the community I have had an opportunity to talk with many folks about the issue of health care reform and the message I've heard is that we need to get something done now. I therefore encourage everyone to make sure that they let Rep. Connolly's office know this as well. You can do so by calling (202) 225-1492 or sending an email here.

4 comments:

  1. Great post, Brian! I'm putting this up on Twitter. We need to hold all of our electeds accountable if we want to pass real health care reform.

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  2. Someone in Gerry's district please remind him that those people making over a quarter million dollars a year are coming off eight years of Bush wealth redistribution policies that have put us in the mess we're in. If Gerry can't lead on this, he can't lead.

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  3. hey Bryan -

    why not go over to his Facebook page, under "fans" and post it where everyone can see it :D

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Gerry-Connolly/15224565129?ref=search

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  4. I hope that the comment about rich constituents was only a part of Gerry's opposition to the tax on the wealthy. I'm opposed to solely relying on such a tax because it alone won't close the deficit and because I think the burden of healthcare reform should be spread more broadly if we are creating a new public good.

    That being said, I hope that Gerry will continue to negotiate in good faith and vote for a healthcare bill that achieves both of the president's objectives (universal coverage, deficit neutral), regardless of the messy details inside it.

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