22 nov. 2009

REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D-R.I.) 'BARRED FROM COMMUNION'



Providence Journal's John E. Mulligan: 'Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has forbidden Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy to receive the Roman Catholic sacrament of Holy Communion because of his advocacy of abortion rights, the Rhode Island Democrat said Friday. 'The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion,' Kennedy said in a telephone interview. Kennedy said the bishop had explained the penalty by telling him 'that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I've taken as a public official,' particularly on abortion. He declined to say when or how Bishop Tobin told him not to take the sacrament. And he declined to say whether he has obeyed the bishop's injunction. Bishop Tobin, through a spokesman, declined to address the question of whether he had told Kennedy not to receive Communion. ... This latest exchange between Bishop Tobin and Kennedy, the only remaining public official in the nation's most prominent Catholic family, escalates their heated public debate over how the eight-term congressman's work for abortion rights bears on his standing in the church.'

One Step Ahead


Tonight we have the opportunity, the historic opportunity to reform health care once and for all,” said Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and a chief architect of the legislation. “History is knocking on the door. Let’s open it. Let’s begin the debate.”

The 60-to-39 vote, along party lines, clears the way for weeks of rowdy floor proceedings that will begin after Thanksgiving and last through much of December.

The Senate bill seeks to extend health benefits to roughly 31 million Americans who are now uninsured, at a cost of $848 billion over 10 years.

The House earlier this month approved its health care bill by 220 to 215, with just one Republican voting in favor. That measure is broadly similar to the Senate legislation, but there are some major differences that would have to be resolved before a bill could reach Mr. Obama, and that would almost surely push the process into next year.

As the Democrats succeeded Saturday in uniting their caucus by winning over the last two holdouts, big disagreements remained, making final approval of the bill far from certain.

Two reluctant Democratic senators, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, warned that their support for a motion to open debate did not guarantee that they would ultimately vote for the bill. Their remarks echoed previous comments by several other senators, including Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, and Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut.

Those comments made clear that more horse-trading lies ahead and that major changes might be required if the bill is to be approved. And it suggested that the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, who relied only on members aligned with his party to bring the bill to the floor, may yet have to sway one or more Republicans to his side to get the bill adopted.

Comparing the House and the Senate Health Care ProposalsInteractive Graphic