Black Leadership Forum Continues to Push for Public Option
BlackAmericaWeb.com | , Jackie Jones | 11/29/2009, 10:10 a.m.
The Black Leadership Forum is pleased with the victories on health care, first the vote earlier this month by the House of Representatives for a bill with a public option and the vote over the weekend by Senate Democrats to send the Senate€s version of the bill to the floor for debate.
But the forum, whose members have been walking the halls of Congress to push for a final health care bill with a strong public option, is not resting on its laurels.
€There€s one more river to cross,€ said Gary Flowers, the forum€s executive director.
€To that end, we are intensifying our hall visits to all members of the United States Senate to say clearly that the American people need health care now and that any equivocation on a strong public option will have political ramifications,€ Flowers said Monday.
Last week, representatives from the 51-member organizations of the forum, including the National Urban League and the NAACP, began arriving in Washington, D.C., to walk the halls of Congress, visiting congressmen to congratulate House members who voted for the bill that passed on Nov. 7, to express their disappointment to those who did not and to mobilize a lobby effort in the Senate.
The forum targeted lawmakers in key states to persuade them to support universal health care.
In an earlier interview, Flowers noted that 5 to 20 percent of the voters in key senatorial or congressional districts were African-American and that candidates needed 95 percent or more of that bloc of voters to win their elections.
In a report on the status of the health care reform bill, CNN reported that Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut all voted to open debate on the Senate bill, but they all said they may not vote for a final version of the bill.
€The Black Leadership Forum agrees that those senators identified on CNN are first in line to receive visits,€ Flowers said.
According to CNN.com, in addition to those four senators, the Republicans also are targeting Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to pressure them to vote against the bill.
Flowers said there would be visits in the senators€ districts over Thanksgiving and in Congress after this week€s recess.
€We want to talk turkey with senators after Thanksgiving about a strong public option,€ Flowers said.
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