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Brian Baird says he'll vote 'yes,' John Tanner to vote 'no' on health-care bill

By Lori Montgomery
In the final hours before the climactic health-care vote, all eyes are focused on a small clutch of anti-abortion Catholics who could hold the key to the legislation's passage. But a handful of other lawmakers also remain undecided, and House leaders got a split decision Sunday from two retiring Democrats who voted against an earlier health-care bill because of concerns about its massive cost.

Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), a 22-year veteran whose vote was assiduously courted by House leaders, said he will again vote "no," arguing that the compromise package would do too little to rein in the skyrocketing cost of health care.

Tanner was one of the founders of a group of fiscally conservative House Democrats known as Blue Dogs who provided the biggest bloc of "no" votes when the House approved its $1.05 trillion health package in November, and his rejection of the slightly smaller $940 billion compromise package could influence other Blue Dog members.

"There is no question our health-care system needs reform. Since the outset of this national dialog, I have talked with many West and Middle Tennesseans about how we can identify and fix what is broken within our system. Chief among these goals is the long-term reduction in health care costs for families, employers and the government," Tanner said in a statement. "After thorough and careful review of the legislation, I am unconvinced that the long-term trend of rising health-care costs is adequately addressed and am therefore unable to support the legislation."

On the other hand, House leaders picked up the vote of Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who now says he will vote for the legislation.

For a full list of how representatives have said they will vote -- and who remains undecided -- see The Post's comprehensive and continuously updated "Who's in play" graphic.

In an unusually lengthy and pensive statement, the veteran lawmaker and neuropsychologist identified at least 10 reasons he supports the compromise package -- including provisions aimed at reining in health-care costs and projections showing that the measure would trim around $1 trillion from the budget deficit over the next 10 years.

"This does not mean all of the problems of improving health care, lowering costs, reducing the deficit and others are solved by this bill. We must continue to work for further improvements in each of these areas and I am committed to doing so," Baird said in a statement. "But on balance, I believe this legislation will be much better than what exists today, I believe it represents a number of improvements in both content and process over the legislation as passed by the House, and, it is the best we are likely to be able to accomplish at the present time."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 21, 2010; 2:08 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Health Care  
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Posted by: FranciseaIbeeria | March 22, 2010 3:19 AM | Report abuse

The Stupak executive order deal will not hold up under the Supreme Court based on precedent. Charles Krauthammer analyzed this today. Stupak likely knows this. I wish for once we had politicians with spines who did not trade away their principles. You folks who support this will rue the day this happened. This is very bad legislation for our country. Good-bye to our great was a good run...

Posted by: FairTaxGuy | March 21, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

The arrogance of the libs on this site is just plain wrong. Why should health care be a right? Why am i supposed to pay for life long smokers to have cancer treatment? Why am I supposed to pay for an obese nation when I take care of my body? The bill lacks prevention which would save this country a boat load of money. This bill reflects the inappropriate response we have had to health care in recent years. The truly selfish ones are the people demanding the rich pay for their health care. Where is the demand that these people also take care of themselves if they are essentially being given it.

Posted by: classfivedude | March 21, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

It's past time to punish Democrats who game the system. Congressmen who fail to push thru Obama's agenda are on the wrong team.

Posted by: irsbob | March 21, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Tanner is a Democrat in name only. He's just a cracker in Republoid clothing.

Posted by: ssterno | March 21, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), a 22-year veteran said he will again vote "no," arguing that the compromise package would do too little to rein in the skyrocketing cost of health care."

Soo ... Do nothing?
$940 billion equals 4 1/2 years in Iraq, the U.S. has flushed enough money down a toilet in Iraq to pay for 30 years worth of health care, time to go Tanner but hey you have life time gold plated health and pension benefits so don't worry about the rest of "We The People".

Posted by: knjincvc | March 21, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

You know the repugs just make me laugh with all this talk about bankrupting the country. there is a simple solution that all other civilized countries adopt: Raise Taxes, the problem is red americans are just too selfish to pay for someone else less fortunate than them, let's call it for what it is, it's just greed, Somalia should be really the model of society that fits you, all God, guns and no taxes! Move there please, the sooner the better.

Posted by: biglio | March 21, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

John Tanner, capping a truly listless, unremarkable 22-year stint on the dole. No doubt heading out the revolving door for the K Street money machine.

Just another "aw shucks" good ol' boy who loves expensive cigars and the high life while playing the Christian card. Hypocrite. Sell out. Blue Dog. Good riddance.

Posted by: CallMeLiberal | March 21, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Tanner may be retiring from the House, but I bet he has a new job lined up, with funding coming from the usual suspects.

Posted by: daweeni | March 21, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Congressman Tanner
Your Pants are on the ground
Pants on the Ground, Pants on the ground
You look like a fool with your pants on the Ground.

Posted by: COWENS99 | March 21, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Tanner states that the bill does not go far enough to rein in the cost of sky rocketing health care. I am confused does he think maintaining the status quote is going to do that? No bill is perfect. Look at the changes made to Social Security over the years to make it better. The facts are more people will get a chance of obtaining health insurance and while that clearly doesn't matter to some it is right thing to do! Some how we have become a Country where I got mine if you don't have yours that's your problem. Shame on us!

Posted by: jhop1104 | March 21, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse


"Fool on the Hill" is about a man everyone incorrectly assumes to be a fool, but it is he that has true wisdom.

Posted by: mason08 | March 21, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

He never listens to them
He knows that they're the fools
They don't like him
The Fool on the Hill
(Lennon-McCartney, Magical Mystery Tour)

Posted by: mtpeaks | March 21, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Stokeybob failed high school math and cannot comprehend the concept that we are still undergoing exponential population growth - which negatively affects nearly every facet of human existence.

Bizarrely, he also seems to think that Mexico is on another planet apparently. ZPG is about controlling population growth all over the planet, including Mexico (which once again I should point out is on Earth, the same one you live on).

Posted by: B2O2 | March 21, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like the Democrats still do not have the votes. After 14 months.

I'm afraid this thing is going to turn violent, however the vote turns out.

This whole thing has turned insane.

Posted by: grunk | March 21, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

This sounds like anarchy, but I would love to see the protesters at the Capitol today enter the chambers and sit on the floor changing "Listen to the People" "We want no change" "Out with all self-serving incumbents."

Posted by: JustSomeThoughts | March 21, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

This sounds like anarchy, but I would love to see the protesters at the Capitol today enter the chambers and sit on the floor changing "Listen to the People" "We want no change" "Out with all self-serving incumbents."

Posted by: JustSomeThoughts | March 21, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Did you here the one about the guy’s wife that killed all of his children because she wanted to make more room for the home invaders?

Oh what.

It wasn't his wife. It was his country.

Back in the 60’s the Federal Government came into the public schools and brainwashed us as little children with the message that the children we were about to have were unwanted because the population was rising so fast. They launched a program called, “Zero Population Growth”. They pushed Family Planning and birth control pills. Now they call the same programs, "Safe Sex" but the results are the same. I think you and I both know that you only have to trick people for their few child bearing years and there is no going back.

Many of us never had a say in the future of our unborn.

I am the result of two living cells. One from each of my parents. They are the result of two living cells, one from each of their parents. I wasn't just born. I am a continuation of life. I am a living thing that reaches back into time perhaps 400 million years and the result of billions of joining of pairs of cells. It is possible that if you were to follow my cells back to my parent’s cells and beyond that my family tree touches every living thing here on earth. That is if we limit ourselves to believing life was created here on earth. If it rained down from the immensity of the universe it could reach back into that immensity of time and space, and who knows what relationships and who knows what species.

My family line succeeded, at least until I came up against the Federal Government.

I have seen the Federal Government do little else to control the population.

The open borders, United States laws only apply to some, is a serious slap in the face. No. Not a slap in the face. It reaches well beyond that. Maybe back to the beginning of time and stretch to the bounds of the universe.

Posted by: Stokeybob | March 21, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

A ruling party that must buy the votes of its own members, is a ruling party that is out of touch with the American people.

Posted by: mtpeaks | March 21, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

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