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The Heart Of The Matter

A little Don Henley to start the day, “Heart Of The Matter.”

The vote to override the SCHIP veto will held on Thursday.  And children and families all over this country need your help.

All over America, there are families like the Johnsons, living on the edge financially and working hard to make ends meet. Many have full-time jobs but seldom take vacations. They meet monthly bills for basics such as food, car insurance and housing but have little or nothing left for dining out, college savings or band uniforms.

Without affordable health coverage for their children, many say, insurance costs and medical bills would threaten to break the family budget.

It is families like these who are at the center of the political controversy in Washington that will come to a head Thursday when the Democratic-led House attempts to override President Bush’s veto of an expansion of the children’s health program that Congress passed last month by sizable bipartisan majorities. The fight, playing out in television and radio ads and in plenty of arm-twisting on Capitol Hill, is over how much money to spend — and on whom to spend it.

When I think about how much money we are spending in Iraq — on an occupation of the President’s choosing — and then the fact that he vetoed this spending on keeping vulnerable children in America healthy? It is beyond maddening, isn’t it? Especially in the context of a public health and safety concern that kids who don’t have regular preventive health care visits can pose an infectious risk to the general public, whether or not your own family has health insurance.  All it takes is one bird flu exposure in a community and a missed opportunity for quarantine to start that ball rolling swiftly downhill to disaster.

Beyond that, though, these are children.  They have no control over their parents’ means.  They have no say into which family — rich or poor, or hard-working blue collar job with no insurance plan — they are born

For families on the edge — neither comfortably middle class nor truly low income — Thursday’s vote is not just one of the most dramatic political skirmishes of the year but also a referendum on whether people like them deserve the government’s help in making sure that their kids have health coverage….

“If we didn’t have this program, honestly, my husband and I would probably be working two jobs apiece to pay for the health care,” Nelson said. “We haven’t been on a vacation in, like, four years. We can’t afford to do the extras. We don’t eat in restaurants; we don’t do McDonald’s; we don’t do any of that stuff. . . . We’re really going to be in a jam if we lose coverage for my son.”

“The least of these, my bretheren…” That’s the heart of the matter, here, that these children could belong to any of us, there but for the grace of God or a whole lot of luck.  Please make calls today — even if you have already made a call, please make another one.  This vote in the House is going down to the wire, and every call, every FAX, every contact with a DC office and a local office — every single one counts this week.  Please add your voice today.  Your call could make the difference in the vote we need for the veto override.  But without your call, we’ll never know…

You can call toll free via these numbers that katymine found:

1 (800) 828 – 0498
1 (800) 459 – 1887
1 (800) 614 – 2803
1 (866) 340 – 9281
1 (866) 338 – 1015
1 (877) 851 – 6437

Here are some members of the House who especially need to hear from constituents: (partially via the Seminal)  I’ve put these together so that the name link goes to a contact information page, for ease of locating local office numbers for everyone, and a DC office number and FAX number (where available) for each as well.


Robert Aderholt (AL-04)      (202) 225-4876      FAX: (202) 225-5587
Rodney Alexander (LA-05)      (202) 225-8490      Fax: (202) 225-5639
Michele Bachmann (MN-06)      (202) 225-2331      Fax: (202) 225-6475
Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06)      202-225-2721      Fax Number: 202-225-2193
Judy Biggert (IL-13)      202-225-3515      Fax: 202-225-9420
Brian Bilbray (CA-50)      202-225-0508      Fax: 202-225-2558
Gus Bilirakis (FL-09)      202-225-5755      fx: 202-225-4085
John Boozman (AR-03)      (202) 225-4301      Fax: (202) 225-5713
Ginny Brown-Waite (FL-05)      (202) 225-1002      FAX: 202 226 6559
Steve Chabot (OH-01)      (202) 225-2216      FAX: (202) 225-3012
Barbara Cubin (WY)      (202) 225-2311      FAX: (202) 225-3057
John Doolittle (CA-04)      202-225-2511      FAX: 202-225-5444
Thelma Drake (VA-02)      (202) 225-4215      Fax: (202) 225-4218
Kay Granger (TX-12)      202-225-5071      Fax 202-225-5683
Kenny Hulshof (MO-09)      (202) 225-2956      fax: (202) 225-5712
Tim Johnson (IL-15)      (202) 225-2371      fax: (202) 226-0791
Rick Keller (FL-08)      (202) 225-2176      Fax (202) 225-0999
Joseph Knollenberg (MI-09)      (202) 225-5802      Fax: (202) 226-2356
Randy Kuhl (NY-29)      202 225-3161      FAX: 202 226-6599
Tom Latham (IA-04)      202-225-5476      Fax: 202-225-3301
Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11)      (202) 225-8171      FAX: (202) 225-2667
Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04)      (202) 225-4676      FAX: (202) 225-5870
John Peterson (PA-05)      202-225-5121      Fax: 202-225-5796
Thomas Reynolds (NY-26)      (202) 225-5265      FAX: (202) 225-5910
Peter Roskam (IL-6)      (202) 225-4561      FAX: (202) 225-1166
Bill Sali (ID-01)      (202) 225-6611      FAX: (202) 225-3029
Jim Saxton (NJ-03)      (202) 225-4765      FAX — (202) 225-0778
Tim Walberg (MI-07)      (202) 225-6276      FAX: (202) 225-6281
Greg Walden (OR-02)      202-225-6730      Fax: 202-225-5774
Jerry Weller (IL-11)     (202) 225-3635 Fax: (202) 225-3521


Bob Etheridge (NC-02)      (202) 225-4531      Fax: (202) 225-5662
Jim Marshall (GA-08)      202/225-6531      Fax: 202/225-3013
Mike McIntrye (NC-07)      (202) 225-2731      fax (202) 225-5773
Gene Taylor (MS-04)      202 225-5772      fax: 202 225-7074

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com