As debate rages, where in the world is Chris Van Hollen?

[Check out the bottom of this email for a glimpse of a real progressive arguing for health care!]

The health care debate is raging in this country, and the welfare of millions, perhaps the entire nation, rides on the outcome.  And where, exactly, is Rep. Chris Van Hollen during all of this?

Did Mr. Van Hollen co-sponsor H.R. 676, the bill that calls for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system?

No.

Did he add his name to the letter House Democrats recently wrote to President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, demanding that a more modest public option be maintained in any final health care bill?

No.

Is he using the Congressional recess to hold town hall meetings, listening to the citizens of the 8th Congressional District or trying to rally public support for health care reform?

No.

This last absence is particularly galling, since one of the few items on his website referring to the health care debate, a press release dated August 1, notes that  “as we head into the August district work period [House] Members will be talking to their constituents and getting the message out that continuing the status quo is not an option.”

Well, maybe other House members, but not Chris Van Hollen.

Isn’t it interesting that when the going gets rough, when major issues are being hotly debated and we need leaders to stand up and pound the table with the truth, this self-proclaimed “progressive” member of Congress, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and part of the House Democratic leadership, just sort of melts into the background?

All the more interesting when his newly elected neighbor from Maryland’s 4th district, Rep. Donna Edwards, immediately signed on to H.R. 676, signed on to the House Democrats’  letter, and has made it clear that she will not vote for any bill that does not contain a public option.

Thank you, Rep. Edwards, for demonstrating what political leadership looks like.

I’d like to tell you all to call Mr. Van Hollen’s office and urge him to support (and vote for) single-payer or even a public option, but it’s not clear that he cares what his constituents think. Of course you might still want to make that call, but here’s an even better idea, if you’re as outraged by this as I am: why not write a short letter to one of the local papers – the Post, the Gazette, the Sentinel or any others – or even your neighborhood listservs and ask this simple question:

During this battle for  health care, where in the world is Chris Van Hollen?

Because some of us would sure like to know.

Yours in fighting for real health care,

Gordon Clark

p.s. – for an example of an actual progressive who knows how to argue for real health care reform and isn’t afraid to do it, check out this video of Rep. Anthony Weiner from a recent MSNBC show (at the bottom of the linked article). Why can’t we get someone like him to represent us?

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One Response to “As debate rages, where in the world is Chris Van Hollen?”

  1. Edward Maloney Says:

    Van Hollen is where he’s always been. Keeping his head down waiting to see which way the winds will blow. It’s now 8/25 and he still doesn’t have the guts to have a town meeting, or explain why. That all ok though because it give us another issue with which to beat him over the head with when things get serious about the 2010 elections.

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