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. Bob in Pa

    Just because Teddy worked hard on this bill is not reson enough to destroy our economy and strp citizens with additional taxes that will come with this bill.

    March 20, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. ProfBill

    VERY thick skull....

    March 20, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. MsDp

    Some of them will do any thing for attention.

    March 20, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Great, more people trying to get their 15 of fame.... at the cost of the country.....

    March 20, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. Pragmatic

    Short sighted and foolish: Pass this bill and work to fix it in the future: No bill = no chance for his "public option." Older folks, the ones in the doughnut hole, would call it cutting of your nose to spite your face!

    He'll have his 15 minutes of "fame" until all those kids depending on Pell grants, all those with pre-exisiting conditons (if they live long enough) those seniors in the doughnut hole, the 30 million people without the chance of of affordable health care ... realize that standing on "what could be" had defeated "what was accomplished in the now."

    March 20, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. cmb

    I say skull.

    March 20, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Michele

    Buy for you...thanks for helping out the people of this country...instead of voting for a bill that will be improved over time, you are voting for the status quo...nothing!

    March 20, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    He's certainly begging for a loss in this year's election.

    March 20, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. True Democrat

    Clearly Rep. Lynch wants to think for himself.
    Put him down for a 'no' vote.

    March 20, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Marcus Tate

    Exactly. Why should someone pay a "cadillac tax" because they have worked hard and have a job that offers healthcare?? When Obama first paraded this bill out, he said "People who already have health care will not be affected." Or was that just another lie?

    March 20, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. Camron

    Healthcare reform is needed. But this particular legislation is bad. It should be done state-by-state. A national takeover is wholly wrong! I won't vote for anyone who votes for it. I respect the independent Democrats who want to work on better reform – later this year or next. President Obama is plain wrong when he says this is our last chance!

    March 20, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. John

    I may not agree with Lynch's reasons, but hurray for a Democrat who isn't swayed by threats and bribes and Presidential attempts at persuasion.
    Vote your mind!

    March 20, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Ready for 2012

    Good job Congressman Lynch. Stand firm and vote No. Don't let Obama twist your arm into voting for something the majority of sensible American's don't want.

    March 20, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. OBS.

    Mr Lynch will find out that it is his skull that is thick when it comes election time and he finds himself without his place at the table. If he does get voted back in, one can bet the real Democrats who he voted against will certainly remember how thick his skull is and treat him likewise.

    March 20, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Illinois Blue Dog

    This moron would cut off his nose to spite his face.

    March 20, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Dear Rep. Lynch,

    What is it about the obstructionist Republicans that you don't understand?

    Regardless of all the listening to and concessions made to the Republicans, not a single one of them will be voting for this health care reform bill.

    The bill is not perfect, but it is abundantly clear that Republicans have absolutely NO intention of ever doing anything meaningful about providing solutions to the health care crisis – even as more and more people lose everything they've ever worked for should they or a family member gets sick.

    Do the right thing, Rep. Lynch, and VOTE YES for the health care reform bill.

    March 20, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. A. Smith, Oregon

    If Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch decided to vote NO, that is his unfortunate choice. No to budget reductions, No to adding adequate Health Care to Millions of American family's, No to President Obama's most moving piece of legislation.

    Voters in Massachusetts this November will certainly remember you Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch and vote in your replacement.

    March 20, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Illinois Blue Dog

    Here is his quote:
    "You ought not to sacrifice the interest of those people for something symbolic."
    What is symbolic about insuring an additional 30 million people? What is symbolic about preventing insurance companies from dropping someone's insurance because of a preexisting condition? What is symbolic about reducing the deficit by $138 billion over 10 years? This guy is unbelievable.

    March 20, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Becca

    Lynch, you're little joke isn't really that funny, because everyone knows your thick skin or thick skull isn't the problem. The problem is that you sold out. Why shouldn't health insurance companies have to abide by anti-trust regulations? I smell a bribe (aka. large campaign contribution) from the insurance lobby. Many states can't get affordable health care because there is no competition, with only one big insurer calling all the shots. That's messed up. And it's messed up that your not supporting health reform for such petty reasons.

    March 20, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. harold

    Well Mr. Lynch has his health insurance for himself and his family...does he not.?..... So why should he vote to give it to anyone else?

    March 20, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. They call me "tater salad"

    Lynch is right, this bill is nothing more than a watered down piece of crap that doesn't do enough to actually be considered a "reform" bill.......I like a guy who puts sensibility above symbolism.........Wish we had more like him............People over party!!!!

    March 20, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. yen

    Mr Lynch, go ahead and vote. It is the right thing to do if it will help one person let alone 30-32 million people.You know better. Don't forget that you are from Mass. You are a leader.

    March 20, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Monster Zero

    IF AMERICA CAN'T SEE THIS LIBERAL TAKEOVER OF NEARLY EVERY ASPECT OF OUR ECONOMY, YOU ARE ASLEEP. I for one will have no part of it and when I decide that it is time to stand up for the America I know and love and for what I believe the Constitution means then it is game on!

    March 20, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Lisa - St. Louis MO

    An example of the failure to reach the perfect getting in the way of the good... this bill would help a lot of people and if if you want to go further, then have your state pass something that helps your constituents specifically.

    Shame on you for not realizing that you have to make some concessions to reach a consensus and, by doing so, hurting people both in your district and outside of it.

    March 20, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. IVOTE

    Rep. Lynch is wrong not to vote on the HCR. Massachusetts voter will remember His "NO" vote when it is time for re-election. He has already voted for the HCR in Dec. 08 so what has changed?

    March 20, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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