March 19th, 2010
05:05 PM ET
5 years ago

Cao: 'Right now, I am a firm no'


Washington (CNN) – The only House Republican who previously supported the health care reform bill said Friday that the issue of abortion is a stumbling block for him as a final House vote approaches.

"Right now, I am a firm no, because I do believe that the Senate language on the abortion issue is insufficient for me to support the Senate bill," Rep. Ahn "Joseph" Cao, R-Louisiana, told CNN's Brianna Keilar,

The Louisiana Republican said his concern was that the final legislative package unveiled Thursday by Democrats does not apply to the Hyde Amendment, the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortions, to the federal dollars provided to community health centers.

Cao also said that he thought the language in the Senate bill, which is set for consideration by the House, does not do enough to comply with the Hyde Amendment.

"The present language in the Senate bill provides a tremendous loophole for federal funds of abortion and will eventually expand abortion services," he said.

Cao added, "Based on my reading of the Senate bill, many of the fundings through the health care reform bill will not be subject to the Hyde Amendment."

Asked about the fact that his congressional district is overwhelmingly Democratic and in support of health care reform, the Catholic lawmaker responded, "It is not wrong to vote against what my constituents want but it is wrong to vote against my own conscience."

Cao said if a coalition of House Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, succeeds in getting stronger language regarding abortion funding into the final legislation, that would "open the door" to him reconsidering his vote.

Related video: Stupak still a 'no'

Last year, when the House passed its own version of health care reform, Cao surprised many political observers by being the only Republican to vote in favor of that bill, a piece of legislation that included provisions regarding abortion demanded by Stupak's coalition.


Filed under: Abortion • Health care
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Jesus(the Zombie version)

    Conservative Florida Democratic Congressman Allen Boyd has become the fifth Dem no-to-yes vote

    CNN: do you guys do work anymore or do you just let us bloggers do it for you?

    March 19, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Some republican guy

    Goldangit!!! The socialist obamabots and Oprah watching union thugs are trying to ram this healthcare porkulus down our throats!!!!!!! Just wait until you're grandbabies have to go to the hospital and the doctor comes out wearing a Chay Guevarro t-shirt and a buray hat with a red star on it!!!!! Ask to see the doctor's birth certificate. If he can't produce one, guess what??? He's a narcisstic obamabot!!!!! Grab you're grandbabies and run for your life!!!!! Their trying to make us communistic like Canada!!!!! Wise up, people and inpeach him before its to late!!!!!! Have a nice day!

    March 19, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Adalbert

    Vote to help the hard working people in your district.

    March 19, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. MsDp

    I can't believe this guy; he represents one of the poorest district in Louisana, and most of the people wants this reform. I can't believe he's worrying about an abortion issue that is not even in the bill. P.S. Besides that, he's not even a woman. what gives?

    March 19, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Some republican guy

    And another thing. What's all this about no healthcare for ill eagles!!!??? The eagle is a noble bird and the symbol of our country!!!! When one gets sick we should help it. I bet the Oprah watching union thugs and narcisstic obamabots want to eat bald eagles for dinner with a glass of there goldang libtarded peeno nwar and some asparagus with hollandase sauce and maybe some rice pilaf or something!!!!!! Inpeach them before its to late!!!!! Have a nice day!!!!!

    March 19, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. FL

    You can't say he is a Republican if he voted for health care garbage before. I can assure you no true Republican would have ever voted in favor of any legislation that took away rights of anyone. This issue is must deeper than the news media lets on.

    March 19, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    All this crapola excuse from the party of high moral values. Yeah, right!
    I wonder how many of them have impregnated women not their wives and have dished out money for abortions! Freakin' hypocrites.

    March 19, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    I take back anything nasty I said about him when he voted for it. Apparently he now sees it as the slimey travesty is is.

    March 19, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. Victim of GOP Taliban

    He is full of lies. Typical con-artist politician spinning it. This bill is NOT about religion, abortion or illegal immigrants contrary to all they lies and propaganda from the lobbyists. Instead of doing real work, the Republicans hide behind the wedge issues and try to change the subject – make it into a debate about some endless wedge issue.

    March 19, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. A keen observer

    Cao seems to be implying that he cannot read. That doesn't surprise me because most republicans seem to read things that are not in the bill. Perhaps remedial reading classes should be offered to republicans.

    March 19, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. Pragmatic

    "Right now, I am a firm no, because I do believe that the Senate language on the abortion issue is insufficient for me to support the Senate bill."

    What do his voters want? Did he ask? Or did someone die, and make him God – that its all about representative Cao and what he believes – talk about little tin dictators!

    March 19, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  12. Stacie

    How do you reduce abortions? Let all women have access to consistent, high quality preventative health care, including birth control. No woman wants to have an abortion. Give them the information and tools to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and the rate of unplanned pregnancies goes waaaay down. Hey, if we provided high quality mental health services to men and women, the rate would go down even more. What a novel idea!!!!

    March 19, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. RJ

    The people in your district need you to support this bill. Your loyalty to them – not the Republican in Washington.

    March 19, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. Jesus(the Zombie version)

    Florida Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas will switch from no to yes, becoming the sixth Democrat in recent days to announce that switch.

    Hurts, doesn't it?

    March 19, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Taylor

    He is a Republcan enough said !!!!!!!

    March 19, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Kevin in Ohio

    To those switching from a no to a yes.... you are becoming part of this country's financial destruction. For those switching from yes to no.... Thank You, even though we wouldnt have this problem if you voted correctly in the first place.

    March 19, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. Ken in NC

    The Republican Party got to him.

    March 19, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. B Obama

    You will Obey.

    March 19, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  19. Mike

    Render obama the things that are obama's.

    March 19, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Wisconsonite - Stop Smoking the Tea Bags!

    Another scum-bag who is willing to sacrifice health care for 32 million Americans on the altar of their religious beliefs. And what about the millions of babies that will be born to poor parents who can't afford to take them to the doctor when they're sick Rep. Scum Bag??!!!! Will you be there to pay their medical bills for them???? Since you're all about forcing them to have unwanted babies and all???!!!!!!

    March 19, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. avatar

    So my question is do you think your FIRM NO to the bill will resolve the abortion problem?

    March 19, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. An American First

    It seems that he's using abortion language as an excuse to not vote for the bill. The thing is that he has an enormous opportunity to be a long term congressman from a very democratic district – kinda like Olympia Snowe as senator in Maine – if he votes for this bill. This is a big bill. Some bishops and most nuns have come forward and said that the abortion language is "good enough for them". Seriously Congressman, you should rethink your decision and take this opportunity to be a long term congressman who is hope for bipartisanship instead of just voting with your party even though you disagree with them.

    March 19, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. james williams

    Another Ohioian flipped 'NO' TO YES" REP MARY JO KILROY

    March 19, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  24. AndyBlue

    Its already been proven that no taxpayer dollars will go to abortion. He is just an outright liar about his "reasons" now.

    You know if any Republicans vote for the bill they will be attacked by the rest like a pack of pitbulls against a bunny.

    Republicans have been proven to really turn on each other viciously.

    This is memorable time in history for all Americans.

    Remember the Republicans contributions;

    Pushing Lies, Pushing Fear, Teabaggers, Fox News. Palin, death panels, Racist posters, Glen Beck, Limbaugh, Kill, Kill, Kill, Disgust, Disgrace etc, etc..

    So far Hope still seems the better alternative to the garbage we have been getting from Republicans this past year.

    HOPE is working out pretty well for America.

    I like that Obama guy! : )

    March 19, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Richie in Mass

    Maybe he is waiting for a backroom deal like it turns out Bismark or like Tenn got. This bill is so bad Obama is out giving speeches and lying. He told people in VA today that starting this year insurance companies can't deny people for pre existing conditions. Ummm that isn't true. For kids it is ( which is good) but for adults, well they have to wait till 2014. Why not tell the truth? Oh, I know why. The truth is as ugly as the process.

    March 19, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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