US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Wednesday to push through embattled health reform legislation this year following the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, who called the effort “the cause of my life”.
“Ted Kennedy?s dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration,” Pelosi said in a statement.
President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan to provide health insurance to all Americans, the top domestic priority of his administration, has met with stiff public and political opposition amid concerns over the costs of the plan and the role of government in providing medical care.
Pelosi, one of Obama’s top Democratic allies, was reminding Americans that reforming the health care system was a cause dear to the heart of Kennedy, who died late Tuesday after losing a long battle with brain cancer.
“Sadly, Senator Kennedy left us exactly one year after he inspired the nation with his speech of optimism, vitality, and courage at the Convention in Denver,” she said.
And Robert Byrd, the remaining geriatric Senate basket case, has this to say:
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the only senator to have served longer than the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), mourned his friend Wednesday, saying his “heart and soul weeps.”
Byrd said he hoped healthcare reform legislation in the Senate would be renamed in memoriam of Kennedy.
“I had hoped and prayed that this day would never come,” Byrd said in a statement. “My heart and soul weeps at the lost of my best friend in the Senate, my beloved friend, Ted Kennedy.”
Byrd’s wistful statement focused on the work accomplished with Kennedy during decades together in the Senate, and called on the healthcare bill before Congress to be renamed in honor of Kennedy.
“In his honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American,” Byrd said.
Dear lord, people, at least let the body cool down.