Who voted for the health care bill? Everyone knew the Republicans wouldn’t. But who voted for the health care bill wasn’t the main question, as the question was which Democrats didn’t. 220 House members voted for the health care bill, which only won by five votes in the House. The people who voted for the health care bill didn’t have an overwhelming majority, as expected, but the margin of victory was a bit troublesome. If the people who voted for the health care bill only outnumbered those that didn’t by five in the House, then getting the bill passed as is in the Senate, with 60 votes, looks even more daunting.
Those who voted for the health care bill included 219 Democrats, and only one Republican. Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana has become the new Olympia Snowe, as he was the sole member of the House GOP to vote for the health care bill. Even if Cao hadn’t voted yes, the bill still would have passed, but by an even more narrow margin – and Cao still waited until Maxine Waters cast the clinching 218’th “aye” vote to give his approval.
As it stands, the 220-215 victory for the health care bill may be a landmark, but the chances of it going to the Senate without any further compromises seems small now. Even with all the concessions made, those who voted for the health care bill barely beat out 176 Republicans, and 39 Democrats.
The 39 Democrats who voted against the health care bill included 24 of the controversial “Blue Dog Democrats.” According to the New York Times, most of them came from freshman House members, and representatives in previously Republican districts that will be vulnerable in 2010. With the few 2009 elections over with, Congressmen are in full-blown maneuvering mode to get ready for the 2010 races.
As such, the window of opportunity for President Obama is still shrinking, and the rush to get the bill over to the Senate has now begun. The House members who voted for the health care bill now sit on the sidelines, as the Senators take their turn arguing for and against the bill, and making deals to get it passed or defeated.
Rep. Cao will now face whatever consequences are in store from Republican colleagues and his district, while the Blue Dog Democrats will take it on the chin from leftists once more. The Senate is set for an even more heated debate, where a few votes one way or another will decide things, as it has been throughout this process. The closer it looks like the health care bill debate is over, the further away it really is from being settled.
NY Times- “House Democrats Who Voted Against The Health Care Bill”
The Hill- “The GOP vote: Why Cao said ‘yes'”
Barcelona Reporter- “Obama House Health Care Vote: Breaking Updates House passes Health Care Bill”