March 20th, 2010
03:39 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama and Kennedy lobbying not enough for Lynch

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Lynch is standing firm as 'no' vote."]Washington (CNN) - A personal meeting with the president hasn't persuaded him. Conversations with party leaders hasn't changed his mind either.

But Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch's stance against the health care legislation has even withstood the invocation of his state's patron saint of politics: Sen. Ted Kennedy.

A few days ago Lynch received a phone call from Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late senator, who implored him to support the health care legislation despite any misgivings he has with the bill.

"She said Ted had worked at this for quite some time and invoked his memory," Lynch told CNN. "[It was the] same kind of conversation I had with the president: the strengths of the bills, the shortfalls, but that we have to do something."

Lynch, who represents metropolitan Boston, voted in favor of the House's original health care legislation in November but reversed his decision on the latest version, citing the lack of a public option, the inclusion of the "cadillac tax" on high cost health insurance plans and the ommission of a repeal on the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies.

Despite being labeled as a "Massachusetts liberal," Lynch says he has so far rejected all pleas for support because he thinks the legislation does not go far enough to help his constituents.
"You ought not to sacrifice the interest of those people for something symbolic. These people sent me here. They trust me to make the best decision based on my best judgment. And I'm doing that. I think it would a dereliction of duty for me to vote yes on a bill I felt strongly would work to their disadvantage," said Lynch.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Friday that the President has had 64 meetings or phone calls with Representatives in a last ditch lobbying effort to reach the 216 votes needed for passage.

Lynch acknowledged his resistance to such entreaties may not make him popular among his colleagues. "It's either I have a thick skin or a thick skull," he jokingly said.

Filed under: Health care • President Obama • Stephen Lynch
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Richie in Mass

    I love how Vicki Kennedy calls and he is suppose to listen to her but not his actual constituents. This " pass it at any cost " mentality tells you how desperate they are to pass this regardless of how voters or the congressmen feel about its content. Chicago style politics. I guess that is the " Change " we were promised.

    March 20, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. Lou

    Perhaps his constituents would take less than a perfect deal so as to not deal what could be a deadly blow to the Obama administration. Last time I looked, a lot of reasonable people live lovely lives in that district. Who is
    Lynch really representing here?

    March 20, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Cindy

    I guess, he's truly an example of party diversity (as opposed to the Republican singular NO block). I think a lot of the unpopularity for the Bill in the polls are because of the same thing... the bill does not go far enough.

    March 20, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Sue

    at last someone who is listening to the people.

    March 20, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. sherry

    I like what the guest Don Lemon had on a little while ago said. "You rarely hear from those who are for a bill.... but those against it are loud, outspoken, and call constantly"

    It sounds like Lynch is buying into the tea baggers who have bombarded him with calls - regardless of whether they reside in his district or not.

    Kiss your next term goodbye Mr. Lynch.

    March 20, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. tom mccoll

    Mr. Lynch
    Forget the mirkey deviled details. They can be changed later.
    What about the milliooooooooooooons of people without health want to deny them? Remember the olde expression; " there but by the grace of God go I...." Do you have health care Mr. Lynch? I think you do.
    I have a pre- existing condition Mr. lynch, do you? I know you do. But you have covered your self & family as most politicians have.
    We will be remembering you not by the wonderful things you have already done but by your " HIPOCRITICAL DENIAL OF FOLKS WHO ARE NOT AS FORTUNATE AS YOU". THE next election will be your last.

    You are not the man you think you are!

    Call me

    Let's chat 1 508 653-4595

    Tom mcColl

    March 20, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    Is Rep Steve Lynch prepared to give up his government paid health care? That would be the HONEST thing if he really believed in his principles.

    March 20, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |

    Lynch, get some real guts and vote for the bill.

    March 20, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. Liberal and Very Proud of It

    It seems quite obvious:

    Massachusetts isn't the liberal state we thought it was.

    March 20, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  10. Julian

    Rep. Lynch is all for the Insurance companies lynching the pennies from poor Americans who are suffering without Health insurance. So long as it protects the health insurance status of his state, Massachusetts citizens do not give a whim of the citizens concerns in other states. What Massachusetts forget is that they are just a state in the union of many, and one way or the other they stand to benefit from this pending legislation than loose out even if it is passed. Time will tell.

    March 20, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. ib

    Proud of him to bad his fellow congressmen can't see what is really going on.

    March 20, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    He should be voted out of office.If he says he is a democrate then he should support this bill. Obviously he is gutless. A true coward.

    March 20, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  13. Debbie from AZ

    Mr. Lynch, it's a thick skull and this is not a joking matter.

    March 20, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  14. Neil Sagan

    Stephen Lynch sucks but Joe Lieberman and the blue dogs in the Senate who passed the crappy corporatist health bill suck more.

    I don't vote in CT or Arkansas or Maine but I can tell you this, Stephen Lynch is not getting my vote in November if he votes no on the health care bill.

    Harmony Wu and is one real progressive and there is another one from Beverly MA. One of them will get my vote.

    March 20, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
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