WASHINGTON (March 20, 2010) After declaring himself unsure earlier in the week on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Mathews, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) has announced his final decision to vote in favor of the House Reconciliation Health Reform Bill.
“For the past year, my constituents have told me they want health insurance reform, but only if it meets certain tests,” Connolly said. “Will it bring down premiums for families and small businesses? Will it reduce the deficit? Will it protect their choice of plan and doctor? Will it improve access to care?”
“The answer to each of these questions is ‘Yes, it will’,” Connolly said in a statement to be delivered on the House floor.
“I and many others in the House may have reservations about elements of this Senate bill, but after carefully reviewing the reconciliation bill before us today I am confident that this final reform package does still meet those tests outlined for me by my constituents,” he said.
Probable effects quantified:
In the 11th Congressional District of Virginia, Connolly said the legislation will: lower premiums by 14 to 20 percent for the self-employed and others who purchase their own insurance, provide tax credits and other assistance to help 87,000 families and 16,800 small businesses afford coverage, and protect more than 1,400 families from medical bankruptcy in the next year alone.
“These are meaningful reforms for which Democrats, Republicans, and the American people can be proud,” he said. “Contrary to what some might contend, this is a bipartisan bill. The House and Senate bills include distinct Republican ideas and amendments. In fact, 147 of them are in the bill before us today. But rather than engage in a rational, thoughtful debate on this complex and critical reform, the organized opposition has preyed on the public’s fear and anxiety and repeatedly fallen back on bumper-sticker slogans.”
Freshman Congressman in swing district:
Connolly is a first term member of the House and President of this Congress’s freshman class. He has been outspoken on his thoughts regarding fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction.
Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) said he will vote yes as he emerged from a meeting with Speaker Pelosi on Friday night.
According to best available counts as of 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, 2010 the Democratic whip count stands just two votes short of the 216 vote majority need to pass the bill back to the Senate. Thirty-five Democrats have registered firm no’s or lean towards voting no.
The House vote is scheduled for 2:07 p.m. on Sunday, March 21. Passage or defeat remains a close call.
Al Portner is a former daily newspaper editor and publisher in seven states and author of the forthcoming “Mark Twain and the Tale of Grant’s Memoir.” Portner is also the proprietor of The Assignment Desk, LLC and provides writers, editors, and photographers for numerous kinds of contract projects from proposals and speeches to public relations and journalism. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.