In Historic Vote, House Passes Sweeping Health Bill
Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Mary Agnes Carey reports that, by a vote of 219-212, the House of Representatives has cleared the Senate-passed health care bill for President Barack Obama's signature. The House will now vote on a separate package of legislative changes to that bill -- known as a reconciliation package -- to send it to the Senate for debate this week.
News outlets have followed the proceedings closely:
The Hill: "The abortion deal struck by the White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) with Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) put Democrats over the top. That compromise moved a handful of Democrats from the 'no' column into the 'yes' category. At the time of the deal, The Hill's whip list had 39 Democrats planning to vote no, which would have defeated the measure" (Cusack, 3/21).
The Associated Press: "The House argued its way through a thicket of Republican objections toward a late-evening vote on the bill to extend coverage to 32 million Americans who lack it, ban insurers from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and cut deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade" (Espo, 3/21).
CNN live-blogged final speeches from party leaders: "10:07 p.m.: House Minority Leader John Boehner delivers fiery remarks, slamming the contents of the health care bill and the process leading up to the vote. Speaking about the way the bill was written, Boehner asked, 'Can you say it was done openly, with transparency and accountability? Without backroom deals struck behind closed doors, hidden from the people? Hell no you can't!'"
"10:17 p.m.: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the health care legislation for its ability to 'unleash tremendous entrepreneurial power into our economy.' Pelosi ... cited the legacy of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who wrote in a letter to Obama that health care is the 'great unfinished business of our society. That is -- until today,' she said"(3/21).
Politico: "President Obama will make a statement in the East Room immediately after the [final] vote. A W.H. aide says that Obama had over 90 phone calls and meetings with members to push the bill" (3/21).
In a separate post, Politico reported prior to the vote that "six Democrats have said they're voting no after supporting the November bill Reps. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.), Zack Space (D-Ohio), Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), Steve Lynch (D-Mass.) and retiring Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.). ... Eight Democrats flipped from no votes last November to announce their support for the vote today Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), John Boccieri (D-Ohio), Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.), Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.) and retiring Reps. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) and Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.). Boccieri, Markey and Kosmas are among the most vulnerable Democrats and the vote could hurt their re-election chances" (Kraushaar, 3/21).