“With a massive government takeover of healthcare looming, Travis Childers has gone AWOL – it’s as if the vacancy in Mississippi’s 1st District still exists 16 months later. Childers needs to come out of hiding and let his constituents know where he stands on the president’s healthcare takeover. Will he continue to tacitly enable Obama with his silence, or will he stand up and fight for the North Mississippians who resoundingly rejected Obama’s costly agenda in 2008?” – Andy Seré, NRCC spokesman

Is Travis Childers really thinking about voting for President Obama’s government takeover of healthcare? He’s not saying much, but it sure looks like it:

1. On July 16, 2009, Childers refused to join 22 fellow freshman Democrats in opposition to the healthcare bill’s Small Business Tax. (see freshman Dems’ letter to Pelosi here)

2. Unlike fellow Mississippi Democrat Gene Taylor (who will be voting NO), Childers has refused to take a position on the healthcare bill. In fact, Childers is evidently refusing to even talk to the press about it, content to let a spokesperson answer the tough questions.

“[Spokeswoman] Dana Edelstein said Childers, while supportive of health care coverage for all Americans, would not make a fully definitive statement on his position until the final form of a proposed bill is known.” (Patsy Brumfield, “Some health care elements concern Childers,” Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 7/23/09)

“Childers, D-Booneville, said he’s still waiting to see a final version of the bill. ‘No matter how the congressman votes, he’s going to do what’s best for north Mississippi and not based on party affiliation,’ said Dana Edelstein, a spokeswoman for Childers, who represents the 1st District.” (Deborah Barfield Berry, “Blue Dogs stall health care,” Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 7/24/09)

3. In an interview with a local paper two months ago, Childers was “optimistic” about passing Obama’s healthcare reform plan. He also said that his proudest moment in Congress has been expanding a government-run healthcare program intended for low-income children to include upper-middle class adults:

“He’s optimistic health care reform is on the way: ‘This is the year to make it happen.’” (Patsy Brumfield, “Childers: Year One,” Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 5/19/09)

“Voting to re-authorize the State Children’s Health Program, U.S. Rep. Travis Childers says, has been the highlight of his first 12 months in office…SCHIP was established by the federal government in 1997 to provide health insurance to children in families at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Congress voted earlier this year to expand coverage and reauthorize the program until 2013.” (Patsy Brumfield, “Childers: Year One,” Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 5/19/09)