This morning, Dennis Kucinich, (D-OH) am outspoken opponent to the current health care reform bill, switched his vote to a Yes. Even as he announced his conversion, he made no bones about his feelings on the matter, saying “I have doubts about the bill. … 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.” Kucinich went on to explain that he changed his position because he realized that it was better to pass a bill that can be changed than to pass nothing at all. President Obama’s reaction was anticlimactic; he simply said that it was good that Kucinich did so.
Representative Dale E. Kildee (D-MI) had also been opposed to the bill, but his objection was that he didn’t want to vote for government-funded abortions. Earlier today, he said the abortion restrictions were sufficient to win his vote, though. He expressed that he felt the sanctity of life for the 31,000,000 Americans without health insurance was a pretty strong motivation to vote in favor of it.
There are still 14 undecided Democrats and 21 more who still say they will vote against the House bill. Kucinich’ and Kildee’s conversions are telling, though, in that they demonstrates that there is still solidarity amongst the Democrats, and that even strong opponents can yet be convinced. Kucinich stated, “If I can vote for this bill, there are not many other people who shouldn’t be able to support it.”
The latest procedural maneuver to pass the bill is a technique called Deeming, in which no vote is actually formally called. Rather, it is simply determined that there is enough support for it to pass. Some decry the move, some even say it may not be Constitutional, but Deeming has been used a score of times in the past 30 years, by both Democrats and Republicans. Health Care Reform would be the most important, largest bill that Deeming has been used for, though. In what seems like a contradiction to the Deeming procedure, House Democrat leaders said that the representatives will be given 72 hours to review the language of the bill before any vote is called. Meanwhile, the country has mixed feelings, some agreeing that any bill is a step in the right direction, while others complain about it being Obamacare and that it represents a huge windfall for insurance companies. Those opposed are quite outspoken, but most of the nation’s citizens seem to be anxiously awaiting the outcome.