No vacation for Congress

It is a disgrace that Congress is leaving the nation’s capital for summer vacation as the American people are left to deal with a healthcare crisis that has exploded into a national emergency.

For each day lawmakers go fishing, 14,000 more will lose their coverage.

For each day they play golf 17,000 more of the people they are supposed to be working for go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills.

At the end of this week House members high tail it out of town to be followed a week later by the Senate. They won’t be back until Sept. 8.

While the government “of, by and for the people” shuts down without having met President Obama’s original deadline for action on health care they give more time to the Republicans and their conservative Democratic friends to delay and obstruct meaningful reform. They give more time to the lobbyists to perpetrate the scare tactics designed to enrich the insurance companies, the big pharmaceutical companies and the private health care industry as a whole at the expense of the people. They give more time to pressure lawmakers sitting on the fence into selling out the people on the public option and tax the rich portions of HR 3200, the progressive bill that emerged from a key House committee.

We agree with Rep. Clyburn who said, “It is much better to postpone, if not cancel vacation — our August break — and stay here until we get this done. This is too important.”

Delay plays into the hands of Republicans who cynically call for “slowing down” in the name of “bipartisanship” and “doing it right.” The delay they call for is designed to kill meaningful reform supported by an overwhelming majority of the American people.

President Truman said 55 years ago that his failure to pass universal health care was his biggest failure. Washington has failed, since then to get it done.

With millions of Americans unable to afford vacations at all, our representatives should not be taking vacation without having given proper attention to this most urgent piece of the people’s business.

The majority of Americans demand a plan with a strong public option, including single-payer.

The majority of Americans demand that the wealthiest among us help pay for it with a surcharge on their income.

The majority want real, not fake reform. It is all the backing Congress and the Senate need to do their job now, not later. They must not skip out on the people until they satisfy the demands of the people.