After 11 PM last night, the House of Representatives voted on the Democratic health care bill H.R. 3962. The final vote was 220 – 215 in favor; 39 Democrats and 173 Republicans voted against the bill. See the vote breakdown here.
There was one lone Republican vote for the bill. That vote was from Anh Joseph Cao of Louisiana. [Cao won the seat from former Dem. Rep. William "Show-Me-the-Money" Jefferson who was under indictment on corruption charges.] You can see Cao at work with the Vietnamese community outside New Orleans before, during and after Katrina in the documentary “A Village Called Versailles.” A trailer and additional clips of this documentary are available here. “A Village Called Versailles” is part of ITVS Community Cinema scheduled for free screenings in May 2010 and will be shown on the PBS series “Independent Lens“.
President Obama issued a statement commending the House for an historic vote:
Tonight, in an historic vote, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would finally make real the promise of quality, affordable health care for the American people.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act is a piece of legislation that will provide stability and security for Americans who have insurance; quality affordable options for those who don’t; and bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses, and the government while strengthening the financial health of Medicare. And it is legislation that is fully paid for and will reduce our long-term federal deficit.
Thanks to the hard work of the House, we are just two steps away from achieving health insurance reform in America. Now the United States Senate must follow suit and pass its version of the legislation. I am absolutely confident it will, and I look forward to signing comprehensive health insurance reform into law by the end of the year.
Again, abortion was the bargaining chip. The Affordable Health Care for America Act has a strict restriction on abortion funding as part of the Stupak amendment. That amendment passed by 36 votes; 240 in favor vs. 194 opposed and one lone Republican vote as “present.” See the breakdown here.
Needless to say the Republican alternative or the Boehner amendment went down in defeat with 258 Nays to 176. One Republican voted against it and it wasn’t Cao.
This morning, the focus was on the Senate, the next round. The President appeared in the Rose Garden this morning with a message for the Senate to “take the baton” and finish the work. With the cold feet of Senators up for re-election, the Republican “No” theater, and a Majority leader signaling that he’s willing to put off a decision (that’s been waiting 16 years) until 2010 — there’s still a lot of work to be done by lawmakers and citizens to pass health care reform. But at least something is finally out of the gate.
Hat tip to Josh Marshalll at Talking Points Memo for keeping score on the vote all last night.