March 17th, 2010
10:33 AM ET
13 years ago

Key liberal congressman flips to 'yes' on health care vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced Wednesday that he would vote to support Democratic health care legislation."]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

Filed under: Dennis Kucinich • Health care • Popular Posts
soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. david

    thank you for coming to your senses Dennis.

    now all they have to do is figure out how the democrats that are holding out want to rape the public with their selfish and ignorant demands.

    March 17, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. How are you paying for it???

    It's a civil right?

    Fine, but how are you going to pay for it?
    Are you stopping ACORN funding and making this a higher piriority? NO.

    Are you raising TAXES over 7% and still can't pay for it? YES

    Are you covering ILLEGALS? YES

    What a bunch of crap.

    March 17, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. jeff jackson, alabama

    Any time a representative changes his stance
    on a vote you have to ask yourself this question.

    March 17, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. Eddie B

    WAY TO GO KUCH!!!! I admire your desire to want more for healthcare with a strong public option, but the Senate bill is a great start to getting over 30 million people with health insurance. You will be saving thousands of lives. GET THIS PASSED!!!!

    March 17, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. SLP

    He had four meetings with President Obama to discuss the matter. Hmmmm....wonder what was discussed? I wonder what he was promised or threatened with? And by the way, health insurance is a good, not a right. There are very few people in this country who are denied healthcare just because they don't have insurance. Help those who lose their jobs and lose their healthcare. As for the rest of the deadbeats who don't want to work and pay for their own insurance, that is your right to do so and you can go without.

    March 17, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. bob

    They are done in this state Kucinich, Brown, Kilroy, Strickland,etc.
    His own comments reveal the truth about the mood of the country. Socialists all of them.
    They are so two faced about the middle class. The one's who pay the rent for the remora's to live off our sweat, give our hard earned money to the pathetic cry babies in this country that live off the government, the one's who never have contributed. The democratic Goosteppers.

    March 17, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. Mike

    Isnt this the same fool that was visited by aliens?

    March 17, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. S Z

    Dennis Kucinich has always been a joke in most of this state! From the time he was mayor in Cleveland, when the river was on fire from polution to his current idiotic comments about the Public Option. Most of us (except his district) thinks of him as a fool. Even the families of the kids who went to school with his kids, think he's a total buffoon. We all knew he would flip, but for a ride in Air Force 1? Unbelievable! But then again that will be the only way he'd get to. After all, we laughed when he "ran" for president.

    March 17, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Bill

    I wonder how much he was paid the change his vote??? And the beat goes on...

    March 17, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Mike

    Way to go Dennis!! Lets get this done so we can move on. The people will be grateful once they understand it and how it helps them. This will only be possible once the republicans misinformation campaign is shut down.

    March 17, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. Spirit of America

    Shame on you Dennis Kucinich! You have revealed yourself to be nothing more than a typical politician and have sold your once proud legacy for a spineless vote. Or was it 30 pieces of silver to fund your next campaign?

    March 17, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. A True Centrist

    From cbs news: "The latest posting from the Treasury Department shows the National Debt has increased over $2 trillion since President Obama took office.

    President George W. Bush still holds the record for the most debt run up on his watch: $4.9 trillion. But it took him over four years to rack up the first two trillion dollars in debt. It has taken Mr. Obama 421 days."

    The last two Presidents have been irresponsible on spending and we are paying the price. President Obama has increased the national debt by over $2 trillion with what to show for it? Unemployment is up over 50% under his watch, several companies that he tried to keep afloat have gone under, we are still hated internationally. He has been an utter failure in his short-term in office and has caused such damage with his irresponsible spending that we will be seeing the consequences for decades to come.

    March 17, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Botir

    I wonder if now I will have to pay for Medicare of Ohio residents from Kucinich district. Now, before I buy my own insurance I will have to buy for Nebraska, Louisiana and Ohio. Change I CAN'T believe in!

    March 17, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Another corrupt politician. How so you people sleep at night?

    March 17, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. Liberal wingnut

    He got to fly with Obama in Air Force One. I wonder what kind of back door deals he gets??

    March 17, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  16. John A. Worth

    Thank you Mr. Kucinich. We desperately need to begin to break through the stranglehold being held on our throats by the medical field's corporate "for profit" managers. This is a start. Today this health insurance reform bill. Tomorrow, the ability to buy into a public option that will stabilize heath care costs across our nation. Thank you for helping middle class Americans. I respect and support President Barak Obama and those in the Democratic party with the courage to put the citizens of the United States ahead of politics. I will work hard to help elect Democrats in the fall.

    March 17, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. David

    Proof positive the political agenda of the particular party out weighs the will of the people. "Government of the Party, by the Party, and for the Party." Prior to WWII our population was under educated and dependent on others for survival. As long as we were fed we were happy and as a result Congress was free to serve their own best interest. After WWII we became more educated and content with the American way of life. Congress was given a free pass agian as long as we were fed. We are now much more educated and concerned about our country. In this computer world we are more informed than ever in our history. However the small cut on our finger (congress free rein) has developed into Gangrene. I understand the need for HC reform but not reform that the majority of the citizens don't want. How is yes vote justified by our representatives.

    March 17, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. Bobby

    Sold out! I wonder what deal he made – How about the "BUCKEYE BRIBE"?? Not as clever as the Louisiana Purchase or Cornhusker Caper. Let's hope the country can survive till November so that we can correct the CHANGE nobody expected.

    March 17, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Nate Ru

    Do the elected not realize that in voting for this (against majority public opinion) that they are ending their own political career???

    March 17, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. Wisconsonite - Stop Smoking the Tea Bags!

    Thank you, Dennis! I agree with you, this bill is not everything we'd hoped it would be . . . .but it is still the best thing this country has EVER done for the health & well being of middle & lower income Americans. It is a start . . . it can be built upon . . . and it will be passed because it is the right thing to do for the country! Those that vote against it, be they Democrats or Republicans are going to find themselves on the wrong side of history and they will suffer consequences.

    March 17, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. cecilia

    Thank God for Mr. Kucinich . I hope other Democrats who are afraid of doing what is right for Americans will follow his lead.
    this bill is not about thier reelection – it is about what is right.
    Come on you other liberal Dems – do what you know is the right thing to do.
    Please don't let the Insurance company CEOs or the Party of Kill The Bill win – it is time for a few good men and women to stand up to corporate greed.
    it is time for me to quit worrying about my 40 year old daughter who is a one year survivor of breast cancer, who lost her job because the company closed, who is now on Cobra and looking for work. please do this for my daughter and all of the other sons and daughters who need help.

    March 17, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. mar

    Good for you Mr. Kucinich. These democrats are killing me.....we voted you to the office to listen to us, now you are not even voting for the health care reform? Please brave up a little bit.

    March 17, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. j

    PASS the health care bill then amend it. Get a starting point and get things moving. In other words, stop wasting time.

    March 17, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. NC

    Bought votes......he's weak and him out........term limits.....Vote Republican in 2010 and 2012....we need to get America back on the right track......the people of the United States of America can not let those we have elected to ruin us any longer......:(

    March 17, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. patti

    How shocking. Another bribe!!!!!
    These people have no spine. People who cannot stand up for their principles, and I use this word loosely in referring to these people, are
    the worst sort of cowards.

    March 17, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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