What: All Issues : Health Care : Access to Health Insurance : S Con Res 70. (Fiscal 2009 budget resolution) Dorgan of North Dakota amendment that would allow an increase of $1 billion for Native American health/On agreeing to the amendment (2008 senate Roll Call 54)
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S Con Res 70. (Fiscal 2009 budget resolution) Dorgan of North Dakota amendment that would allow an increase of $1 billion for Native American health/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 54     Mar 13, 2008
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment by Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., that would shift funding in the budget resolution to allow for an increase of $1 billion for the Indian Health Service in fiscal 2009 by shifting money between funds.  The Indian Health Service is a federal agency that provides health insurance to federally-recognized tribes.  The amendment was offered to the fiscal 2009 budget resolution, which sets congressional spending priorities and targets for the year and outlines other budgetary rules.

Dorgan, whose state contains a relatively large Native American population, said the United States has “both a trust responsibility and treaty responsibilities for the health care of American Indians. They are the first Americans.”  He said the country spends more on health care for prisoners than for Native Americans.  “Let me say again, people are dying as a result of the underfunding for health care for American Indians. It is a promise we have made, and it is long past the time we keep that promise. This amendment is a step in that direction,” Dorgan said.

Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said that Dorgan had made an “an exceptional case regarding the failure of the Indian health program, especially as it relates to his citizenry and other citizenry throughout this country.”  But he said that in a way, this points out the failures inherent in having the federal government run a health care system. 

“So however people vote on this amendment, I think we should understand that this vote is a condemnation of the idea of nationalizing our health care system,” Gregg said.

The Senate adopted the amendment by a vote of 69-30.  All but one Democrat present voted for the amendment (Thomas Carper, D-Del.)  Of Republicans present, 20 voted for the amendment and 29 voted against it.  The end result is that the bill went forward with language that would allow for an increase of $1 billion for the Indian Health Service.

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