October 22, 2009
Senate Democrats Push Health Care, Climate Change on Moral Grounds
WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats framed their health care and climate bills with moral appeals and complained about Republican roadblocks during a roundtable discussion with reporters Wednesday.
"I want to get this off my chest," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is continuing to head up work on a health care plan this week. "We're trying to move forward to do something to take care of Medicaid. There are dozens of things they've held us up on and they're doing that because they're betting on our failure."
Reid was joined by senators including Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Ben Cardin (Maryland) and Bob Casey (Penn.).
Failure to reform health care will create a heavier burden for the faith community to care for the poor, sick and elderly, said Sen. Ben Cardin.
"The faith community is being called upon to provide more resources and do more things that should be in our system collectively," Cardin said.
If the religious community is ever going to come together in the area of public policy, it should be over the concerns of health care and climate change, said Barbara Boxer. She said she's been "thrilled" with support from the religious community for her climate change bill introduced with Sen. John Kerry earlier this month. The bill would require emissions be reduced to 97 percent of 2005 levels by 2012, 80 percent by 2010 and 17 percent by 2050.
Boxer, who is chairman of the Senate environment committee, said she also hopes for support from the religious community in December when she and other leaders meet in Copenhagen to discuss climate change.
She said churches, synagogues, and mosques should be the ones highlighting the moral responsibility to care for the health of people and the planet.
"Let's face it, God is very popular," she said. "So it's important people hear this in their daily lives."