Health Care Trifecta: Pelosi, Joseph Cao & the US Conference of Catholic Bishops


The mish-mash politics of US Conference of Catholic Bishops (its President, Francis E. George, shown here), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Louisiana Congressman Anh Joseph Cao. (from three separate photos...)

Late Saturday evening, the house passed the health care bill, H.R. 3962 in a tight vote of 220-215, with one lone Republican – Congressman Anh Joseph Cao (R-LA) – voting with Democrats to give them one of the two votes they needed to keep it on the Yea side.

In viewing the detailed list of all of the recorded votes, while there were a total of 219 Democrats who voted for the bill, 39 Democrats voted against the bill.  The outcome of the vote itself was not all that unexpected, though there were a few interesting details about the events that lead up to the outcome.

The Abortion Factor:  Pelosi, Cao and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Ironically, it was the vote on the Pitts-Stupak amendment just prior to the health care bill’s vote that shifted the final outcome.  In August, it had been voted down in the House Energy and Commerce committee. But the amendment was resurrected as the compromise of speaker Nancy Pelosi and the more liberal pro-choice Democrats  in the House, who reluctantly put it on the table as a last minute bargaining chip in securing the votes of more conservative pro-life Blue Dog Democrats, who had planned on voting against the health care bill.  Speaker Pelosi secured a late critical endorsement on Saturday from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which signed off on endorsing the health care bill only upon condition that the Stupak amendment be included to ensure that no federal money would be used to cover abortions, and that insurance companies participating in the public exchange would be barred from covering abortions.

Had the amendment not been offered at the last minute through the strategic positioning between the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Speaker Pelosi, most, if not all of those pro-life Democrats had indicated they would oppose H.R. 3962, and the bill would not have passed in the House.

But perhaps most interesting was the only Republican to vote FOR the health care bill. That Republican was Congressman Anh Joseph Cao, of Lousiana.  Cao replaced former representative William Jefferson, who in August of 2009 was convicted of 11 of 16 corruption charges against him, after more than $90,000 was discovered in his freezer during a raid on his home and office.

What makes Cao’s vote so interesting is that Cao sits on the National Advisory Council to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Nancy Pelosi’s office for that discussion.  Pelosi got her health care vote, the Conference of Catholic Bishops got their abortion amendment…what shall we conclude Mr. Cao may have gotten out of the arrangement?


During the statements preceding the vote on the House floor, Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) offered some particularly powerful comments:

Watch him on video. The last few sentences are the most powerful.


Democrats who voted against the Health Care bill:


No NJ-3 Adler, John [D]
No PA-4 Altmire, Jason [D]
No WA-3 Baird, Brian [D]
No GA-12 Barrow, John [D]
No OH-16 Boccieri, John [D]
No OK-2 Boren, Dan [D]
No VA-9 Boucher, Frederick [D]
No FL-2 Boyd, Allen [D]
No AL-2 Bright, Bobby [D]
No KY-6 Chandler, Ben [D]
No MS-1 Childers, Travis [D]
No AL-7 Davis, Artur [D]
No TN-4 Davis, Lincoln [D]
No TX-17 Edwards, Thomas [D]
No TN-6 Gordon, Barton [D]
No AL-5 Griffith, Parker [D]
No SD-0 Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie [D]
No PA-17 Holden, Tim [D]
No NC-8 Kissell, Larry [D]
No FL-24 Kosmas, Suzanne [D]
No MD-1 Kratovil, Frank [D]
No OH-10 Kucinich, Dennis [D]
No CO-4 Markey, Betsy [D]
No GA-8 Marshall, James [D]
No NY-29 Massa, Eric [D]
No UT-2 Matheson, Jim [D]
No NC-7 McIntyre, Mike [D]
No NY-13 McMahon, Michael [D]
No LA-3 Melancon, Charles [D]
No ID-1 Minnick, Walter [D]
No NY-20 Murphy, Scott [D]
No VA-2 Nye, Glenn [D]
No MN-7 Peterson, Collin [D]
No AR-4 Ross, Mike [D]
No NC-11 Shuler, Heath [D]
No MO-4 Skelton, Ike [D]
No TN-8 Tanner, John [D]
No MS-4 Taylor, Gene [D]
No NM-2 Teague, Harry [D]


Filed under The 912 Project

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