Saturday, November 07, 2009

In NY-23, Newly Elected Democrat Bill Owens' 11th Hour Conversion in Support of Pelosi's Health Care Bill Raises Cries of Foul Play

From his nomination as the Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 23rd Congressional District on August 10 until October 30, barely 84 hours before the polls opened in the special election, newly elected Democratic Congressman Bill Owens was adamantly opposed to health care reform bills that included the "public option."

In his first formal interview as a candidate on August 11 with the New York Observer, Owens clearly stated his opposition to the public option:

"Owens took a decidedly moderate line on health care restructuring, saying he does not support a public option available to anyone--the crux of the restructuring put forward by President Obama."

You can read more of the August 11, 2009 New York Observer article here.

Owens maintained this position of strong opposition to the public option for the next two and a half months, until the final debate of the campaign, held in Plattsburgh on Friday October 30, just 84 hours before the polls opened for the special election.

The previous day, on October 29, Speaker of the House Pelosi had introduced the massive 1,900 page HR 3962 Health Care bill that included elements that were far more Left wing than any of the previous House bills.

The next day, Owens apparently latched on to the talking points about HR 3962 provided to him by Speaker Pelosi that allowed him to change his public opposition to the public option components of the bill.

Since the public introduction of HR 3962 on October 29, additional changes have apparently been made, and it is unknown if any of those changes effect the language of the revised public option. For that matter, it is unclear if Owens is even aware of any of the changes made to HR 3962 since October 29.

It's difficult to know, because Speaker Pelosi has refused to publicly post the details of the final version of HR 3962 on which Owens and the other members of the House of Representatives will be voting this afternoon. Both Speaker Pelosi and President Obama had promised "transparency" for all bills, stating they would be available for viewing by the public on the internet in their final form for 72 hours before any votes were held. This promise has been broken repeatedly, and is being broken today on HR 3962.

Owens, then, is left in a position where he has switched to support the Pelosi Health Care bill at the last minute, and now will be voting in favor of something the full details of which he is ignorant.

You can read the rest of this article, a combined effort by Michael Patrick Leahy of The TCOT Report and Nathan Barker of The Gouverneur Times here at The TCOT Report.

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