Washington (CNN) - Health care reform advocates inched closer to victory Wednesday morning as a high-profile liberal Democrat switched his position and announced his intention to vote for a sweeping $875 billion plan under consideration in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said he believes "health care is a civil right." He had previously characterized the bill, which passed the Senate in December, as little more than a boondoggle for private insurers.
Kucinich was publicly lobbied for his vote by President Barack Obama during the president's visit this week to Kucinich's congressional district in Ohio. He told reporters he's had four meetings with Obama to discuss the bill.
"The president's visit to my district ... underscored the urgency of this vote," Kucinich said. "I have doubts about the bill ... [but] I've decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation."
He said he ultimately had "to make a decision on the bill as it is, not on the bill as I'd like to see it."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, needs 216 votes from her 253-member caucus to pass the measure. No Republicans are expected to back it.
A number of House Democrats have refused to state their voting intentions publicly. Twenty-six House Democrats, however, have indicated they will join Republicans in opposing the Senate plan. Included in that total are five House Democrats who said Tuesday that they will vote against the Senate legislation.
That puts opponents of reform 12 votes shy of the 216 needed to prevent Obama from scoring a major victory on his top domestic priority.
– CNN's Charles Riley, Alan Silverleib, Jeff Simon and Robert Yoon contributed to this report
If this is so important that it needs to be done RIGHT NOW!!! TODAY with no bipartisan support and with a bill so bad that even party members are being forced to vote for it, why is it being passed now but going into effect much later?
kucinich, your a sellout. You talk a good game but in the end your all for yourself. tell the people what kind of deal you got. you and the rest of your cronies next year can have a reunion at the unemployment line in ohio.I guess its true, the old saying short men have small balls.We need people like you to show the rest of the country what small minds we have in the government.Your just like all politicans, on one hand their kissing the babies and on the other there taking their lollypop. Also give us a break and don't keep running for president, we would have to lower the seats on airforce 1.
Most Democrats dream of someone who has worked hard their whole life, never broke the law, never did another person wrong, dying of cancer on a waiting list, while a government lib taker who never worked a day in their life, has a criminal record, and makes a negative impact on society everytime they step out of their home paid for by the first mentioned person, seeing a doctor right away to put a bandaid on a paper cut, or to help them with their latest drug overdose.
Think about how liberals act and how much hate they have for good people, their intentions become clear when you deal with the facts about their lack of ethics, charecter, decency, integrity, and fairness.
Why would you vote for a bill you have doubts about, given it is something that you would never have supported in the past? So you are voting yes to something you think is bad just because the President told you to? Glad to see that our "representatives" are putting a lot of thought and consideration into this decision.
Is there anyone out there that thought for one moment that a Kucinich would vote in opposition to the way he has been instructed to vote by the party, and what did he get in return for his vote? Remember the Louisiana purchase, the corn-husker caper? This crap is an insult to the American people.
He came across in his announcement as very sincere and straight forward
Thank you sir. Let's PASS this!!!
How much does this cost the taxpayers?
Even if Obamacare passes, it will not stand as is beyond 2012.
The Obama spending, deficits and tax increases will put the Dems out of power by 2012 and perhaps even return Republicans to power in the House and or Senate by 2010. Once that happens the Republicans will strip out all the parts that a majority of voters are opposed to in Obamacare and give them the health care reform they are asking for.
He will pay for this vote.
Oh my god that obama will be happened about his future cause he have too much trouble
Thank you Dennis!
So you know it's poorly written, but going to vote for it anyway? Can't expect much logic from this dimwit
Guess he is ready to leave Washington.
Pass the legislation already, it's time to move on. You idiots in the media can then focus on important things like how to avoid a hangover after tonight's festivities!
"Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is asking all female Democratic Members to attend a hastily called meeting Wednesday morning but isn’t saying what the meeting is about. "
This happened this morning at 10am. HOW is this not illegal in today's PC world?
If a MALE member of the Dems or repubs asked for a meeting of just the male members there would be an uproar.
So sick of minority groups getting special treatment. What happened to everyone is equal?
On another note: where is the transparancy? It is obvious Pelosi is threatening them to vote for the government takeover of health care.
VOTE THEM ALL OUT!!
Well, this just shows the liberal, leftist, government take-over nature of the bill, since this representative has been advocated this approach for years!
Dennis Kucinich, a perfect example of a political hack. Bankrupts Cleveland as mayor. Then gets elected to do the same with the Federal Government.
I wonder what they promised him?
Is anyone actually surprised by this? Kucinich, like most Dem. congressmen, would rather vote for an awful bill that increases the government's power rather than no bill at all
Hmm – what REALLY happened 1 mile up in Air Force One? A little bribery? A little blackmail? I guess when you have no backbone it's easy to be swayed with the tide, just like most liberal jellyfish.
I wonder what Obama promised him or how much he was paid? At least Obama will have a lasting legacy – the downfall of America and the demise of the democratic party.
Welcome to Obama's Chicago-style politics. It took four closed door meetings and a lot of not-on-paper promises to buy Kucinich's vote. The big question is did he get more than Louisiana & Nebraska?
Pelosi offered Kucinich another ride on an alien spaceship in return for switching his vote
I wonder what he got in return for his vote?! Not the change I hoped for in the new administration.