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Kucinich Will Vote "Yes"

March 17, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

When health care passed the House in November, Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D, OH-10] was one of the 39 Democrats who voted “no.” He was one of the only vote Democrats lost to the left; the only Democrat voting against it because the bill didn’t do enough to eliminate for-profit insurance.

But, this morning, he said he will vote “yes” on the Senate’s health care bill, even though it is more conservative than the House health care bill he originally voted “no” on.

“If my vote is to be counted, let it now count for passage of the bill, hopefully in the direction of comprehensive health care reform,” he told reporters. “We must include coverage for those excluded from this bill.”

Kucinich’s support give the Democrats an important boost as they head towards a likely vote on the bill in the House this weekend. He is the first of the Democrats who voted “no” the first time around to announce that he will vote “yes” this time. Several other progressives in the House have been considering voting “no” on the Senate bill, but, given his reputation as the House’s most principled progressive, Kucinich’s announcement should help persuade other progressives to vote for the bill as well.

Kucinich said that he is not getting anything in return from the Democratic leadership for his vote. “There was no Louisiana or Nebraska type deal,” he said. He is voting for the bill in response to his constituents wishes, as well as a personal desire to see Obama succeed.

He also said that his vote in for the bill “as it is.” House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] is currently in a meeting with the women of the Democratic Caucus. Some have speculated that she may be caving to the Stupak 12 and will allow a vote on an amendment to block anyone buying insurance through the new Exchanges from purchasing a plan that covers elective abortions, even if they are buying the insurance plan entirely with their own money. If that happens, and it passes, Kucinich would almost certainly switch back to a “no.”

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