U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich waited until Democrats had won last November’s health care reform vote before casting his ballot against it on the House of Representatives floor.
This time around — pressured by everyone from President Obama to Moveon.org — the Cleveland Democrat had no luxury to dawdle before taking a stance. He announced at a Capitol news conference this morning that he’ll vote “yes” on the bill’s latest draft.
“I have doubts about the bill,” Kucinich said. “This is not the bill I wanted to support. . . However, after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, my wife Elizabeth and close friends, I’ve decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation.”
Bill opponents pounced quickly. Said an e-mail alert from the National Republican Congressional Committee: “Left-wing icon flips from ‘No,’ exposes so-called moderates.”
President Obama called Kucinich’s switch “a good sign.”
“I told him thank you,” said Obama.
Kucinich’s move came after months of insisting he’d oppose the bill because it doesn’t do enough to curtail insurance company abuses. Kucinich advocates bolstering Medicare and expanding its coverage to include all Americans.
But he acknowledged this morning that his choice now is to either vote “no” on principle, and thereby possibly block the biggest (though imperfect) advance in health coverage in decades, or compromise for the good of the estimated 30 million more Americans who could gain insurance.
“I have taken this fight further” than many other Congress members, Kucinich said, citing his two presidential campaigns in which he advocated universal coverage and his bill introduction and other attempts in the House to get single-payer insurance.
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Article courtesy cleveland.com