One Republican lawmaker out of 177 crossed party lines to support the health care reform legislation offered by Democrats.
Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, the Louisiana Republican who hails from a decidedly Democratic New Orleans district, voted yea on the final passage of legislation. He joined 219 Democrats to make the final margin 220 to 215 in favor of reform's passage.
Cao was a major (and possibly the lone) target for Democrats hoping to get even a semblance of bipartisan support for the bill. He said after the vote that he had obtained a "commitment from President Obama that he and I will work together to address the critical health care issues of Louisiana."
In the past, Cao has been touted by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) as "the future" of the GOP. Republicans clearly went the distance to keep him in the fold for the health care vote. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who promised protesters at a Tea Party rally this week that "not one Republican will vote for this bill," was standing beside Cao as the historic vote unfolded.
Here's video of the moment the bill passed:
After the vote, Cao put out a long statement explaining his vote and emphasizing the fact that he also voted in favor of a key anti-abortion amendment, presumably to try to stave off the heavy incoming attacks from conservative activists.
Of his vote, Cao said: "Tonight, I voted to keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortion and to deliver access to affordable health care to the people of Louisiana.
Cao said: "I read the versions of the House [health reform] bill. I listened to the countless stories of Orleans and Jefferson Parish citizens whose health care costs are exploding - if they are able to obtain health care at all. Louisianans needs real options for primary care, for mental health care, and for expanded health care for seniors and children. [...]
Cao said: "Today, I obtained a commitment from President Obama that he and I will work together to address the critical health care issues of Louisiana including the FMAP crisis and community disaster loan forgiveness, as well as issues related to Charity and Methodist Hospitals. And, I call on my constituents to support me as I work with him on these issues.
Cao said: "I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people. My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents.
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