Obama: "This Is What Change Looks Like"
Echoing the tenets of hope and change that were key in getting him elected, President Obama gave a short, measured speech that tempered pride in seeing the bill passed with the realistic admission that there are still miles to go before he can sleep: "As momentous as this day is, it's not the end of this journey," he said. Still, he did take a brief moment to bask in his accomplishment: "In the end, what this day represents is another stone firmly laid in the foundation of the American dream."
Boehner: "Shame on Each and Every One of You"
In the final moments before the vote, Minority Leader John Boehner let loose with a fiery plea against the bill, invoking everything from the will of the American people to Moses and Thomas Jefferson. "Have you read the bill?" he yelled. "Have you read the reconciliation bill? Have you read the manager's amendment?" To the Democrats' shouts of "Yes!" he shouted "Hell, no, you haven't!"
Stupak Heckled with "Baby Killer!"
Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak was a late switch to "yes" on the bill, but he's still one of his party's most virulent opponents of abortion. So it was a shock when someone on the House floor yelled out "baby killer!" as Stupak delivered remarks before the vote. Today, Rep. Randy Neugebauer from Texas admitted he was the one to shout the insult, but claims he was addressing the bill itself, not Stupak. He says he’s apologized to Stupak.
Pelosi Triumphant: "We Tonight Will Make History for Our Country"
Nancy Pelosi's speech before the vote was peppy and confident. The speaker practically glowed as she enumerated the ways the bill would make history when it passed. "Just think," she said. "We will be joining those who have established Social Security, Medicare, and now, tonight, health care for all Americans."
Slaughter, Dreier Spar on Floor
As the health-care vote drew closer, tempers flared on the floor, with Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) testing the theory that whoever shouts loudest and longest wins the argument. And if, indeed, that were how debates got settled, Slaughter would have, well, slaughtered. Our eardrums are still ringing.
Nunes Blames "Totalitarian Tactics" for Hate Speech
Rather than distance himself from or condemn the racial and homophobic epithets slung by Tea Party protesters the day before, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) took the rather unusual stance of blaming the Democrats: "When you use totalitarian tactics, people, you know, begin to act crazy," he said.
Mad Props for Pelosi
Some people carry around a rabbit's foot, four leaf clover, or some other lucky item when preparing for something big. Nancy Pelosi went with an oversized gavel, on loan from Rep. John Dingell, who used it to pass Medicare 45 years ago.
Rep. Van Hollen: No "Armageddon" if Bill Passes
Hell might have frozen over when lawmakers passed health-care reform, but at least we won't experience hell on earth. Not according to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen. "The world's not going to come to the end," he assured skeptics on CBS' Face the Nation, noting that the hysteria over its impact is overblown. "There's not going to be these death panels. In fact, [Americans are] going to begin to see the benefits."
Fine, No Armageddon, But Taxes Ahoy!
Californians blame the Santa Ana winds for all their problems. Alaskans, apparently, blame the health-care bill! Or at least, that was the sense one got listening to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who listed energy restrictions, "amnesty for illegals," and more taxes as some of the potential fallout of passing the bill.
"This Bill Is Gonna Go Through"
Rep. Bart Stupak, one of the primary Democratic holdouts, held a press conference to announce he would be backing the bill—only because they were able to reach an agreement with his party that has Obama signing an executive order guaranteeing public money will not go to funding abortions. But the Michigan congressman won't be simply taking Obama at his word: "We're not giving up. If there's something we missed here, and I don't think we missed anything, if there's something we missed we're coming back with legislative fixes."
Ryan: Executive Order Not "Worth the Paper It's Printed On"
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), meanwhile, did not even try to hide his skepticism. "I wish this executive order had real teeth to it, personally, because I'm pro-life," he told Fox News. "But we don't think it does, so we don't think it's worth the paper it's printed on, and that's what's so disturbing about all of this."