Moments ago, the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act by a vote of 220-215, with one Republican — Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) — voting for the measure. Once the bill reached the needed threshold of 218 votes, the chamber erupted in applause. Members excitedly counted down the last few seconds of the vote. Watch it:
At the “House Call” tea party protest on Capitol Hill this week, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) pledged to the right-wing activists: “Be assured not one Republican will vote for this bill.” Cao’s vote must have surprised Cantor.
Cao has previously been touted by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) once as “the future” of the GOP. The White House had reportedly “been in constant contact” with him prior to the vote. “Rahm is going all in to get him,” one aide told Roll Call, referring to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
The House also approved, by a vote of 240-194, an amendment introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), which imposed tighter restrictions on abortion coverage. A GOP substitute failed in a vote of 178-258, with a single Republican, Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL) voting against the legislation.
Moments before the vote, during an interview on Fox News, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said Republicans will “absolutely” present a more substantive alternative.
,Excerpt from the White House’s statement:
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.