Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Playing Politics Makes Everyone Involved Look Bad

Both sides of the aisle look bad on this one, as reported by Medical News Today. Bottom line, however, is that Coburn wins . . . and he is correct that the individual bills should be voted on in respect to their own merits. Harry Reid is a dumbass.
Dems Unable To End Sen. Coburn's Hold On 34 Bills, Including Postpartum Depression Measure

Senate Democrats on Monday failed to advance legislation (S 3297) that combined 34 bills that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has blocked, CQ Today reports. The package included disease specific research measures, environmental protection legislation and measures aimed at bolstering foreign economies. Language from a measure (S 1375) that would encourage the study and treatment of postpartum depression was included in the package.

The Senate voted 52-40 to limit debate on a motion to proceed to the package, eight votes short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate and proceed to a vote on the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he will not try to bring up the package again. Every Senate Democrat present voted for the motion to advance the measure, while most Republicans present voted against it, with the exception of Sens. Gordon Smith (Ore.), Norm Coleman (Minn.) and John Warner (Va.) (Hunter, CQ Today, 7/28).

The postpartum depression measure would authorize $3 million in grants in fiscal year 2008, as well as "such sums as may be necessary" in FY 2009 and FY 2010, to study the causes and treatment of postpartum depression. The House approved the measure in October 2007 after resolving disagreements about abortion-related provisions. The measure includes language that calls for HHS to conduct research on mental health issues related to postpartum depression and psychosis. The bill also would encourage NIH and the Health Resources and Services Administration to carry out a national campaign to increase awareness and knowledge of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis, authorize $3 million in grants from HHS and give the director of the National Institute of Mental Health the option to conduct a survey of abortion and miscarriage-related issues (Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 2/14).

Coburn said that although he supports many of the bills included in the package, he blocked them because they would cost $10 billion (Lengell, Washington Times, 7/29). Coburn and other Republicans, including Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), also objected to the package because senators would not have been able to offer amendments. Coburn attempted to bring up some of the versions of measures included in the package individually, but Reid objected. "This, of course, is not a genuine effort to resolve the issues. This is a genuine effort to ... obfuscate what we're trying to do," Reid said (Schneider, CongressDaily, 7/29).

Reid said Coburn and other Republicans who voted against the package could "go home and explain to your constituents how you refused to move forward on some of the most sensitive issues that are in our legislative portfolio in Congress today." Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who sponsored the postpartum depression measure, said that "women will continue to suffer," adding that Coburn "can explain to them why they should suffer just because of his obstinacy" (CQ Today, 7/28).

Reprinted with kind permission from You can view the entire Daily Women's Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery here. The Daily Women's Health Policy Report is a free service of the National Partnership for Women & Families, published by The Advisory Board Company.

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