Live-blogging: The (failed) override vote

The Minnesota House of Representatives debated overriding the governor’s veto of a bill extending GAMC, the health care program for the poorest of Minnesotans today.

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Here are some of the main points of the debating parties (live-blog)

Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL-North St. Paul) – “Many of these folks are people who have served our country. They stood up there and we clapped for them. We owe them this. This makes me sick… There’s no shame in me or anybody voting ‘yes’ on this. There’s no shame for anyone who votes for the needy in our society.”

Rep. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids) – “We have 8,000 veterans who are on GAMC. There’s an invisible brigade of these people who come out seemingly from the woods. We have to make sure that we take care of these people. We had the Red Bulls here the other day and we applauded their service. Let’s show these 8,000 that we support their service, too”

Rep. Larry Howes (R-Walker) - “If we wait 48 hours and we get a good financial report, then you’ve got my vote. But not today.”

Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) – “The people who don’t see the emergency, haven’t … talked to the people who see how important this is.”

Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R- St.Cloud) – “The green votes were a show of good faith to say ‘let’s work together.’ The expectation is it would go to conference committee. Some of us may be guilty of naivete or trust, but we’re not guilty of being dishonest… The calls I’ve received even before session have been to take care of GAMC recipients. We all want to solve this problem. There are reforms we need to do to this program, and there’s a chance here to put those changes in place.”

Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) – “If we put this bill into law, we will help our budget situation. The cost of the old program is $1 million a day. If we put this into law, we cut that in half.”

Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) - “The override addresses one side of the issue. When we think with our hearts, we fail to recognize the details… We have people getting benefits that they do not pay for, and people paying for benefits that they do not receive. People are struggling; times are tough.” (Hamilton was one of the Republicans who voted to override the governor’s gas tax veto a few years ago)

Rep. John Ward (DFL-Brainerd) - “When I vote, I vote my conscience, my constituents, and my caucus, in that order. The governor was quoted as saying, ‘God is in charge.’ I couldn’t agree with that more. My faith and the God that I serve taught me early in my life that I need to take care of and fight for my brothers and sisters less fortunate than me.”

Rep. Doug Magnus (R-Slayton) – It’s a sad day when 25 percent of the homeless single males are veterans. We increased the funding for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans last year. The message we’re hearing today is ‘homeless veterans with no place left to go.’ That is not true. I can’t stand silently by and have my fellow veterans raised up as a flag as the poster child for homelessness.”

Rep. Erin Murphy (D- St. Paul) – 2200 veterans died last year because they didn’t have health care.

(Bob notes: Today’s debate is showing a reality of politics at the Capitol this year. It’s all about the veterans.)

Rep. Tony Cornish (R-CornishGood Thunder) – “Nobody is going to make me feel shame today no matter how many times you mention ‘God.’ Don’t pull the Bible out any damn time it’s convenient. Pull it out when we talk about abortion or gay rights. I went to church yesterday, too. Just because I vote against the override, doesn’t mean I’m any less a Christian.”

Rep. Carol McFarland (R-White Bear Lake) - “The ones (calls) that have been misled is the faith community.”

Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) – “We want a bill the governor could sign. The outcome of this vote is certain; we know we’re going to uphold the governor’s veto. The members of this caucus are doing so to return to the negotiating table.”

Rep. Doug Magnus (R-Slayton) - “The Red Bulls get five years of medical coverage when they return.”

Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-St. PaulMinneapolis) – “The choice before is not to stop negotiating; we can continue to do that. Our decision today is simply a choice today is whether we’re going to go forward with… the more expensive version, or Rep. Murphy’s bill. We’ve been working on this for nine months.”

Rep. Denise Dittrich (DFL-Champlin) – “This solution is far less expensive than the governor’s plan. This plan covers more people. Our deadline has arrived.”

Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague) – “There’s a false choice being offered…that we can override the governor today or all these people go unserved tomorrow. The choice we have today is whether we continue negotiations and find a solution that we all agree on… I don’t know whether government can be moral or compassionate. That’s for the people.”

Rep. Larry Hosch (DFL-St. Joseph) – “Many of the people on GAMC have become disabled. Our most vulnerable people… we may be the next ones who have to rely on GAMC. I have my values rooted in my faith. Our bishop sent a letter about the importance of maintaining the dignity of all people… ”

Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud) – “Many of us on our side are saying, ‘enough.’”

Rep. Andrew Falk (DFL-Murdock) – “What happens if we lose these small community hospitals. If you have a farm accident, a car accident, a stroke or heart attack, where do they go if they’re not there to provide the care? For me this is an easy vote. I’m voting to protect my hospitals.”

Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield) – “We’re trying to help someone else out. Our side believes government spending can be a good thing. What I hear from the other side is government spending is bad in good times and bad times.”

Rep. Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) – “The people who worked hard to come up with fix are being short-circuited today. Not for one minute do I believe anyone in this room does not want to find a solution for those who need it the most. I will not question your motives, I will not question your morality, I will not question your commitment to solving this problem.”

Rep. Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm) – “We have to be honest with ourselves. These are the two choices that were before us when the governot vetoed the program last may, when we started work on it 9 months ago, when we took a vote on it a few weeks ago, when we worked on it over the weekend, and they were the two choices we have today. I wish there could be a bridge between these two solutions… there is not.”

MOTION TO OVERRIDE VOTE (90 votes are needed):

YES 86

NO 47

There’s still a chance another override vote can be taken later. Rep. Sertich changed his vote to “no” so that he could be on the “prevailing side.” Only a member on the prevaling side can move for reconsideration.