Wilson Wins: Senate Closing Healthcare Loophole for Illegals

Friday, 11 Sep 2009 01:06 PM

By Dan Weil

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Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., took a lot of heat for yelling out “liar” during President Obama’s speech Wednesday night, but Wilson’s policy argument appears to be carrying the day.

Senators in the so called "Gang of Six," a group of bipartisan lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee working to formulate a passable healthcare plan, are moving quickly to close the loophole that concerned Wilson, Fox News reports.

"We absolutely assure that those who are here illegally would not get the benefit of any of these initiatives," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.

Wilson’s outburst came after Obama claimed that his healthcare plan wouldn’t provide benefits to illegal immigrants. Wilson apologized for his interruption shortly after the speech, and Obama accepted.

Wilson is still concerned that Congress will pass a bill with no requirement to prove citizenship for healthcare coverage.

Of the three House committees that have passed reform bills, only one specifically prohibits federal funding for health coverage for illegal immigrants.

"The Congressional Research Service has indicated that indeed the bills that are before Congress would include illegal aliens," Wilson told Fox. "And I think this is wrong."

House Minority Leader John Boehner puts the blame on Democrats.

"There were two opportunities for House Democrats to make clear that illegal immigrants wouldn't be covered by putting in requirements to show citizenships," he said. "Both of those amendments were, in fact, rejected."

As for Wilson, he may have put his congressional career at risk for his principled stand.

National Public Radio reports that Rob Miller, the Iraq War veteran who held Wilson to 54 percent of the vote in 2008 and is running again, claims to have garnered more than $750,000 from 20,000 individual contributors since the speech.

That total already exceeds the $631,960 he raised for last year's campaign.

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