Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) issued the following statement tonight after the passage of HR 3962:

After months of objections by Americans across our great country, a slim majority in Congress ignored the will of the people and voted to pass HR. 3962 by a vote of 220-215.

I VOTED NO!! This legislation will cost taxpayers over a trillion dollars, raise taxes, create 111 new federal bureaucracies and lead to a government takeover of our healthcare system. I stood with you today and voted AGAINST another government takeover.

Republicans offered an alternative that would allow for the most basic, common sense reforms that didnt raise taxes or put us further into debt. But, it was defeated by those that want a government-run system. I supported this alternative and many others that were never allowed to be brought to the floor for debate. Unfortunately, partisan politics gave way at the end of the day.

Rest assured tonight, this is far from over. As a former judge, I have serious questions of the constitutionality of this legislation. The bill forces every American to buy health insurance or be penalized with a tax based on your income level. If you dont want to or refuse to buy insurance, then you are in violation of the IRS code and are now subject to tax evasion charges punishable up to $250,000 and up to five years in prison.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it allow for the government to force us to buy anything. If you thought you didnt like the IRS before, wait until they become the new healthcare police.

During todays debate, I talked about the government debacle over the H1N1 virus. This is just a preview of what is to come. The federal government promised to save the country by providing 120 million H1N1 virus vaccines in three months. Of course the government only made 20 percent of that number on time. So the government had to decide who would get medicine and who would not. This simple shot program administered by the government is a mess and has its priorities wrong. Why? Because the government is in charge. The government decides who gets flu shots and who doesnt. Patients dont decide; doctors dont decide. This is what a universal government-run and government-rationed health care program looks like.

As I said before, this is not over. Our freedoms and our rights are far too important to give up. I will continue to fight with you to make sure that Washington, DC understands the meaning of: We the People. And thats just the way it is.