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. Ryan

    There goes another bribe from Obama and his cronies. Washington corruption at its worst.

    March 17, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. JES

    When will you listen to the people who voted we don't want it.

    March 17, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. Jann in Denver

    Good job Dennis. Lets get this thing done!

    March 17, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. Dean

    Kiss your seat goodbye.

    March 17, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. Chad from Tampa

    Wonder what kind of deal this nut job got from Obama?

    March 17, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Vince

    wonder what kickback he got

    March 17, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Barbara Smith

    What a weak little man he turned out to be.This proves almost anyone can be bought off.Never mind what the people have said,I just wish that the leaders of this GREAT COUNTRY of ours could stand on principles and not on what "power" it can give to them.I only hope that all of this nonsense will will soon end and the voice of the people will again be heard and honesty and integrity will soon be replaced by graft and corruption.

    March 17, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Ken

    Kucinich also had a private chat with Obama on Air Force One during the travels to and from Ohio. When someone who calls a bill a "boondoggle" changes from No to Yes, you have to wonder what was privately promised to Kucinich. What bribe was offered to this man to buy his vote.

    Of course no one will admit to the offer. But if the bill passes, watch how something Kucinich wants gets included in some side item spending bill. Thanks for selling out all Americans Kucinich.

    March 17, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Joe in VA

    yep, this figures. I wonder what special backroom deal HE got!

    This bill can't stand on its own merits. Representatives that vote yes are selling out their constituents.

    March 17, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. right

    of course – what did theybuy his vote with?

    March 17, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Brad - Ohio

    Bless you, Dennis! You have FINALLY come through for the people of Ohio and the US!

    March 17, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Nikhil

    Thank you Dennis for finally coming around for the good of the nation. We need to get this passed and move on with our lives. I support your voice for single payer and/or public option, but we need to get this insurance reform passed no matter what. This is a great start, and I believe this will eventually allow us to develop a public, NPO health care system one day. This is a system for the people, by the people, plain and simple.

    March 17, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Debby

    Well if this thing gets passed and puts insurance companies out of buisness then the job unemployment is going to sore in multitudes especially in CT. the Insurance Capital of the US.

    March 17, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Roninstia

    What a sailboat! And cheap. All it cost us taxpayers was a ride in Air Force One!

    March 17, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |

    Thank you for doing the right thing for the American people. No, the bill is not perfect but covering 30 million more people is a great start.

    March 17, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. JP

    Kucinich is still excited about the ride he got in air force one; that was easy.

    March 17, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Gee, I wonder how much his bribe is going to cost us taxpayers. Bribing Mary Landrieu of Louisiana cost us $300 million; bribing Ben Nelson of Nebraska probably even more in the long run.

    March 17, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. minnie

    A democrat will always skunk out at the last.

    March 17, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. Dano

    Can someone please tell me why I should be against this health care reform bill? Please leave out all the "government takeover" and "cramming it down our throat" rhetoric and just give facts as to how it's going to hurt me (I have employer provided insurance) and others like me.

    March 17, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. Dr.George James

    You are not a moron,Dennis."The foolish and the dead alone never change their openions."

    March 17, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. eanmd

    What ?!? Of course – and not pass this bill. He is not that stupid.

    March 17, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. this black liberal hates Obama

    COWARD! That's what he is.

    March 17, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. GUEST

    Unbelieveable. Another Democrat with no principles. He wants to vote for a bill he doesn't like. Only because Obama visited his district. Not because of any factual change in the bill. Since he believes healthcare is a "right", he should also believe that everyone should have the "right" to own a Mercedes and a mansion and a boat. Socialism is killing this country.

    March 17, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. Carl surprises here...wonder how much his vote will cost the taxpayers...what sweetheart deal did Obama cut for him?

    Oh yeah...we're seeing "change" alright...from disgusting to despicable. May all of the "ruling class" rot.

    March 17, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. Hurry November 2012 - Please hurry

    Kucinich the weasel. No surprise here. Hurry 2012 – please HURRY.

    March 17, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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