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. Dixie

    People like Lynch need to be purged from the Democratic party. Just lile the Repubs are doing – if someone doesn't get with the program they need to get gone.
    What a lame excuse he gave for not voting for the Bill. Why don't they just say they believe in it, but are scared they will lose their job. Aren't they smart enough to know whether if passes or not , or whether they vote for it or not, their fate will be the same.

    March 20, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. whybs on twitter

    Thick skull makes thick skin irrelevant!

    March 20, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Truth

    That's ok. He'll be asking to sweep Ted Kennedy's porch in November.

    Vote out all of the posers and imposters.

    March 20, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Tony

    If it doesn't pass then we may not have another shot at ANY reforms for decades to come. Hope you can sleep at night knowing that you were one of the ones that killed it and helped put millions more in the uninsured category.

    March 20, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Lynn

    Lynch loves the power and feeling of importance to stand up to the President. He's a double-crosser.

    March 20, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Dave

    Kind of like the kid on the middle school softball team during PE who got
    a kick out of making his team lose on purpose.

    March 20, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Shame on you !!!!

    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.
    ****I am sure you are pleased with your Healthcare Coverage paid for by the Goverment ***Shame on You****

    March 20, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Tammy

    This inhumane stance will be on his conscience. I hope the ill people who need help congregate at his home.

    March 20, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. Wags

    I'd say this guy has a thick skull. If this doesn't pass, we'll all have to wait 20 more years to get this far does Lynch like that. Mass., vote this rep. out.

    March 20, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. NC

    Thank You Rep. are one of the great reps. who really cares for the American People and our care is needed for all Americans, but not this socialist obamaCare.......Hopefully in November 2010 and 2012 the newly elected and re-elected Republicans can clean up the mess that the liberal socialist democrats made of our great country.......

    March 20, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. joymc

    I vote for thick skull!

    March 20, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Sean from Marin

    You clearly have a thick skull. Get passed what you can get passed and go back for more later. The people of Boston need Health Care reform and your "values" stance is really a "void of leadership" stance. I hope this encourages someone more rationale to run against you next fall. I will send that person a political donation.

    March 20, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Lynch is lynching himself as he stands with congressional republicans because they will not stand with him for re-election. It's a stupid argument to make saying you represent the people in your district because when you're kicked to the curb you won't be representing anyone.

    March 20, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. FwdnotBkwd

    Shame on Lynch and other Democrats who lack the courage and foresight to support the President. They are appeasing no one and will gain no new supporters. Contrary to what they think, they WILL continue to be targeted by conservatives in the next election cycle, and also by legions of disenchanted constituents and colleagues in their own party.

    Furthermore, a "NO" simply means they are do nothing but ensuring our government remains idle for the next 2 1/2 years on a variety of important issues, such as climate change, the economy, education, etc.. Worse, they are emboldening and empowering Republicans and Tea Partyers–essentially handing them a silver platter in which to dictate America's fiscal and social policy for the next decade. Mr. Lynch, what side of history do you wan to be on?

    March 20, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Adam

    Change is hard and incremental. Compromise is/should be the price of progress.

    March 20, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Roger in New Oxford PA

    Thick skull.

    The anti-trust legislation is being handled separately. Without the taxes on people who have very, very good health care options the budget could not be balanced. As to the public option: it's time will come.

    Thick skull, indeed. Glad he doesn't represent me.

    March 20, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. jm from sc

    This man is only concerned about being re-elected. He thinks Scott Brown was elected because of his stance on health care.

    Many will come to realize that it was because of low voter turn out on the Democratic side. Check the number of people who voted for McCain and Palin and the number that voted for Obama/Biden. You will see that Brown recieved close to the same number of votes McCain did, while the Democratic candidate recieve about 900,000 less than Obama.

    March 20, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Jerry - Florida

    Representative Lynch, we the true and life-time Democrats are very proud of you.

    No matter the pressure from the other Democratic NObama peons, please stay the course.

    Unlike other Democrats, show President NObama, Boblehead Pelosi, Senile reed, etc., etc., that some elected officials in our party Do have a backbone.

    May God bless you, ALWAYS!

    March 20, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. daniel

    I think that this bill should have been passed a year ago.. now everyone is wanting to be in the light and make all the money thay can make.. politions need to be limited to how long that they can stay.. this will ensure that this never happens again..

    March 20, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. Lynch is a principaled man.......

    not like that flp flopper Kucinich who would sell out his mother for a ride on Air Force 1.

    March 20, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Steve (the real one)

    If this bill was 'All That":
    1. The President, Reid, and Pelosi would not have to threaten, brow beat, or make secret deals to anyone in exchange for a vote!

    2. There would be no reason to provide insane amounts of money and promises to Nebraska and Louisiana and others.

    3. There is a Congressman in Illinois who was promised a Presidental effort in immigration reform in exchange for his vote!

    4. Kucinich was given a ride on AF1 and Lord knows what else for a vote!

    That tells me all I need to know about this bill! It simply cannot stand on its own merits!

    March 20, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. Mesa Mick

    Just wish this guy would "cowboy up" and admit what he really is...

    An obstructionist rethugiCANT. He owes the people of Mass. that much...

    March 20, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. ran

    Vote him out Ma. and replace him with a true Democrat.

    March 20, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. Frank Lattimore

    Rep. Lynch wants to hit a home run instead of a double. He wants a public option added to the health care bill. I do too but the reality is too many legislators are for the insurance companies and do not want a public option. Some 40 years of hard fighting has gone on in order to get to this point. If you vote no Rep. Lynch it could be the strike out needed to kill reform. Help keep us up to bat and get a hit so we can keep on fighting. Hear what the Catholic nuns are saying. Pass the bill

    March 20, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  25. Katie B in NC

    ""It's either I have a thick skin or a thick skull,' he jokingly said."

    I pick THICK SCULL.

    March 20, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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