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Al Franken, the Freshman Senator from Minnesota, has proven once again that he has courage, unlike so many of his counterparts who have proven time and again that they have none. Tired of the dithering Democrats and obstructionist Republicans, Franken and his supporters are demanding action on health care reform now. The time for bi-partisanship has long since passed and America needs to light a fire under a confused Congress and an ineffective Administration. Here is the full story from Workday Minnesota:
More than 500 people, armed with banners, signs, and stories of health insurance industry abuse rallied at the Minneapolis Labor Center Sunday afternoon to demand Congress to deliver on health care reform.
U.S. Senator Al Franken delivered the keynote. Earlier in the week, he signed onto a letter asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to use the budget reconciliation process to pass the public option as an alternative to private health insurance. Reconciliation would require only 50 Senate votes, plus the Vice President, and has given many people hope that passage of a public option may still be possible.
In opening remarks, Bill McCarthy, President of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, praised Franken for his leadership on federal health care reform and called the Senator “a fighter and champion of Minnesota’s working families.”
McCarthy said “workers across the country are at the mercy of insurance companies’ soaring premiums, denied claims and inflated profits. It’s time Washington listened to those that elected them, not corporate insurers.”
Franken took the stage to thunderous applause midway through the rally. Citing insurance industry profits which continue to rise despite a weak economy, Franken told the packed hall “I think you know why they’re fighting us.”
He warned that people “can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the very, very good” referencing tea party protesters who picketed outside the hall. Promising to fight to make sure health care costs are lowered and quality goes up for all Americans, Franken concluded saying “All I can tell you is we’re going to get this done.”
Rally attendees included members of the Minnesota Health Care for America NOW coalition, Organizing for America, MoveOn, ISAIAH, labor and progressive organizations. Sunday’s attendees were united in the need for Congress to rein in corporate greed, create more jobs, protect workers’ rights and achieve comprehensive, affordable health care for all Americans.
The rally was part of a week-long nationwide push insisting Congress act now on health care reform and listen to everyday Americans, and not insurance industry lobbyists who have spent record amounts to block health care reform and protect their profits. Sharon Sund of MoveOn told the crowd “enough is enough. Congress has been debating health care reform for over a year. We voted for change and we want results now.”