>Many of the bad things that are happening in the Senate today take me back to my earliest years in public policy. In the summer of 1995, the country was hotly debating welfare reform. I interned with the child care division of the Department of Public Aid in Illinois, and I followed the discussion closely.
By the time I returned the next summer, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) had passed Congress and was signed into law by President Clinton. States wrangled with how they could meet the welfare for work requirements and move people off of public assistance programs as soon as possible. Next door, the governor of Indiana, Evan Bayh, embraced welfare-to-work so wholeheartedly that I was certain that he was a Republican. I'm fairly certain that I even had an argument with Husband about it. I was wrong.
These days, over thirteen years after I first cut my teeth on public policy work, Bayh is still causing me to scratch my head. Evan Bayh is now a pro-choice Democrat in the Senate. Yet he voted for the Nelson/Hatch amendment that would have essentially forbid health insurance plans to cover abortion services. On the flip side, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is anti-choice, but voted against the amendment. What the fuck?
Sen. Reid showed great initiative in explaining his position, finding common ground and recognizing the need for health care reform to be passed. I commend him for taking the time to do the right thing for more people than himself. Sen. Bayh offered no explanation for voting against the women that he has courted for votes. It’s baffling. OK, it's more than baffling; Sen. Bayh's lack of courage on this issue is pathetic.
I learned in 1995-1996 that I really couldn't count on Evan Bayh to make sound decisions when it comes to the health and welfare of women and children. A lot of time has passed since then. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Sigh.