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. Denna

    Come on Rep. Lynch. Help pass the bill. Changes can be made later on. But if this bill does not pass, your constituents won't have any help at all. Personally, I think you are full of it. How would killing this bill help your people? What none of you get is this: health care has been debated and shot down for decades. If this does not pass, it probably will never pass because the Republiklan will see to it that it does not. If people dying is not enough of an incentive, what is?

    March 20, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Hmmm...

    good for him. This bill does litle for states that are proactive and actually harms them as they now simply fund all other states.

    March 20, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. pumpkin

    Rep. Lynch. This bill is a compromise like most things in life, however, it's a start, and you can keep working on it. I think your constituents are smart enough to understand we don't always get everything we want. But when we have the opportunity to see that 32 million more Americans can have health care, that should be enough incentive to vote for this bill.
    If 59 thousand Catholic Nuns write to Congress and tell them they are for it because it's "life-affirming," you should rethink this bill.
    Compromise, life-affirming, no one will have the courage to bring this up for another 50 years....
    Don't lose your chance to be on the right side of history because Mass has most of their people covered–we need that for all of America.

    March 20, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Jim

    Mr. Lynch, how stupid of you to vote No because you think Pres. Obama's healthcare reform does not go far enough to help your constituents. One could have said the same thing about the original Social Security reform in the 1930's or Medicare in the 1960's.

    You have the mentality of a stubborn ideologue, like a Taliban terrorist or a Bolshevik radical. Even Dennis Kucinich can support the reform. Your constituents deserve better representation.

    March 20, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Any reason to vote against Obamacare is a good one.

    March 20, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. rdepontb

    Dear Mr. Lynch,

    It's more that you have a lack of social conscience, and see yourself as above your fellow Massachusetts residents, not that you have hard and fast principles.

    None of the important bills have gone forth perfectly hatched from the start, and this fact is surely recognized by anyone with a view beyond themselves. Vote no-you and your family deserve to wait another 70 years for another chance to start the ball rolling.,

    March 20, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  7. Biased

    My congratulations to him for standing on what he believes whether anyone else in his party likes it or not. As long as he is representing his constituents, then that is what matters. Plus he also knows the problems his own state is going through with this same plan so why would anyone vote for something they know will not turn out to be what has been promised.

    March 20, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. John Hennessy

    Mr. Lynch should, well, simply be lynched as a traitor to "WE THE PEOPLE!"

    March 20, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Wendy C


    March 20, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. Allen in Hartwell GA

    If you start at the 1 yard line and walk to the 50 you still haven't made it the end zone, but you're halfway there. That's better than being back at the one and still having 99 yards to go.

    March 20, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  11. Kevin in Ohio

    Gee, what a concept....he is LISTENING to his constituents rather than the party elites.

    March 20, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  12. Benny in IL

    Someone from Tax-uchessetts is against the bill? Why?

    March 20, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  13. John Pace

    So this guy is willing to kill ALL hope of reform for the next 15-20 years because the bill is not perfect enough?

    Flash: Your quest for ideological purity ain't spit on a hot skiddle compared to covering 32 million working poor Americans, stopping the annual death toll of 45,000 for no reason other than lack of coverage, and halting the hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and bankruptcies because a wage earner gets sick or has an accident.


    March 20, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. Desmond in Canada

    Mr. Lynch, have you not heard: "The best is the enemy of the good or the excellent"? Surely, if you do not appreciate the importance for your people that you vote FOR the bill, you do have, pardon me, a thick head

    March 20, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. P.J.

    A question I hope many are asking Lynch: is he prepared to give up his health insurance and risk financial ruin and possibly death while waiting for that perfect legislation? His refusal to compromise is a courageous stand only if it costs him something. His no vote is certainly going to cost me.

    March 20, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  16. josephine

    Mr. Lynch will have to find another way to have his pockets lined because it looks like the silent majority is going to get the health care reform that this country needs.

    March 20, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. Jenn

    I love it, "She said Ted had worked at this for quite some time and invoked his memory,", He could even function for thre last year and a half he was in the senate.
    Glad to see a MA Rep finally stick to his guns

    March 20, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. joanne mcdevitt

    I am extremely disappointed at our congressman's decision not to vote for health care. His wife works at the S.B. Community Health Center and knows how badly people need health insurance. Community Health Centers have been bearing the cost of the injustice in our system.
    If we don't do something now it will only get worse.

    March 20, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  19. Tayo

    Well,you will see what wil happens to you come this November!

    March 20, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. marty

    Is it too deep a subject to realize that voting YES for the Health bill immediately helps millions of citizens....and....some help is certainly better than no help. When Mr Lynch ran for office I'm sure that he received 'help' so it should not be too difficult for him to understand that voting YES helps, helps, helps.

    March 20, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. J.Lee

    There are times where you have to be idealistic and other times where you have to be pragmatic... the stupidity I find here is that those who don't seem to realize that this may be the only chance to push the health care reform, in its current imperfect form, through. Come November, the winds of change may come and the possibility of passing ANY health-care related reform may be gone... and all they will have is themselves to blame for the situation because you KNOW that Republicans have no inclination to pass any health care reform... unless it's related to medical malpractice (i.e. saving $$$$ for those who contribute $$$$ to them). In every other way, all they need to do is stall for time so that their base (i.e. health insurance companies) will be able to continue to do business like they currently do...

    March 20, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. conniesz

    I hope Stephen Lynch realizes his chances for re-election are zero if he votes no. In fact, any Democrat who votes no should face a primary challenge that will destroy them. If they're going to behave like a Republican they should not attempt to be elected as a Democrat. His tactics will not get a better plan, it will simply result in no plan at all – that doesn't do any good for his constituents at all. He's not a liberal, he's a fool.

    March 20, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  23. Rest in Peace

    Ted Kennedy is dead and gone-Long live Staphen Lynch
    Let the illegal health care fiasco be burried with Kennedy.

    March 20, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. charles

    Continue sitting on the fence. Time will come and all the democrats will sit on the fence. You can be what you want , but republicans will never vote for you. Health care is a fundamental right. Stop bickering for polical personal gains!

    March 20, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. Independent

    I don't like politicians that practices extremism -the all of nothing-mentality will not do any good for our country. When they will get it? Things are not just black and white a lot of times there is gray in between. Voting No just because you are not having it your way does not make you better thatn the Republicans obstructing the reform.. you can put the way you want it but at the end of the day is the same you are being stubborn and not thinking really about the common good.

    March 20, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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