Byrd Statement Following Senate Passage Of Improvements To Health Care Reform Bill
U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., issued the following statement following the 56-43 vote in favor of improvement to the health care reform bill:
"I supported the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act."
"America has 47 million people without health insurance, including more than 240,000 West Virginians, and the number grows every week. More than half of West Virginia's uninsured are between the ages of nineteen and forty nine. Health care consumes more than 15 percent of our national gross domestic product. Health care reform should matter to every West Virginian."
"When the health care debate began last year, I urged the Senate to forgo using the budget reconciliation process to shield a comprehensive reform bill from debate and amendment. I am pleased that the Senate heeded that call, and opted to consider the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act under the cloture rule and the regular procedures."
"When amendments to that measure were proposed by the President, to be enacted through the budget reconciliation process, I insisted that those amendments be considered in a manner consistent with the Congressional Budget Act and Section 313 of that Act, the Byrd Rule. The reconciliation bill must not address extraneous matter, and it must -- absolutely must -- reduce the deficit. This measure meets that test."
"I applaud the Senate for bringing the health care debate to a close in a manner that is balanced, fair, and equitable. The rights of the minority have been protected, and the Senate has upheld its historical role as a forum for debate and amendment."
"While this bill as passed may not satisfy the individual concerns of each and every constituent or member of Congress, it does begin to satisfy the growing needs of millions of Americans who find themselves without access to the medical services and attention they need. Access to proper health care for every American citizen should not only be held as a necessity, it should be considered the commensurate right of any and every citizen of the mightiest and most advanced nation the world has ever known."