For those of you who have tried to meet with Rogers or his Lansing staffers, this won't come as a surprise:
The door to Rogers' office was locked during the protest, and neither he nor staffers were immediately available for comment.
The crowd contained crazed, sign-holding agitators spouting incediary lefty slogans. Here's an example:
"This really gets me upset," said Keith McCall, 87, of East Lansing, who stood alongside Michigan Avenue waving a sign. "This was a stupid vote."
Now, I'm sure we'll see a written statement from SpokesWriter Sylvia Warner at some point, parroting the Bush line on the S-CHIP veto. It will most likely be reprinted as written (thanks, Gannett!), without reportorial challenge to the many, ah, misstatements it contains.
Need a preview? Take a look at last week's press release from Rogers. Rogers voted against the bill last week because it had some suspicious earmarks in it. No, wait -- he voted against it because it would give families making $83,000 free health insurance. No, that's not it -- he voted against it because it would give free health care to illegal aliens. I know -- it's because it makes "massive" cuts to Medicare.
All of these are Bush talking points, and all of them are misleading at best.
(1) The $83,000 earners are a myth. Several months ago, the state of New York asked for an $82,600 waiver to the income cap, since NY has an incredibly high cost of living. The Bush administration said NO. Through the magic of spin, Bush (and his trusty cheerleader Mike Rogers) turned this around and said it was part of the S-CHIP bill.
(2) The bill did NOT include health care for illegal aliens. Infact, the bill would require legal immgrants to wait five years before applying.
(3) The bill is NOT a first step to socialized medicine. It's not an entitlement program, it's a block grant. The federal government doesn't administer S-CHIP; each state can administer the funds as they see fit. And here's a thought: if you think this is socialism then what, pray tell, would you call Medicare?
(4) The bill has bipartisan support. In fact, the bill was designed with a number of provisions that made it acceptable to conservatives like Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Pat Roberts (R-Kansas). Oh, yeah -- and the AARP, AMA, the Catholic Church and a majority of the health insurance industry.
(5) Mike Rogers has clearly shown that he supports government support for Blackwater, but not for the 55,000 Michigan children who benefit from this program. The total cost of this bill, which covers ten million children over the next five years, is equal to 41 days of the Iraq War.
Do your part: Write, call, fax or email Rogers. Let him know what the real Michigan priorities are!
133 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-2208
Phone: 202-225-4872 Fax: 202-225-5820
District Office - Lansing: (don't try to stop by - the door is always locked)
1327 East Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI 48912
Phone: 517-702-8000 Toll-Free: 877-333-6453 Fax: 517-702-8642