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.
During debate of the health care bill, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) noted that after 12 years of controlling the House and 8 years in control of the White House at the same time, Republicans “left behind 37 million Americans without health insurance.” He continued, “And now they come forward with a plan for the future, and over the next decade, they’re going to leave behind 50 million Americans! Wanna buy it? Wanna try it? Wanna sell it? Come on America, buy this one. You’re guaranteed to be left behind if you’re left behind today.” Watch it:
,Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) said the Republican’s “do nothing” alternative means that the GOP now “stands for Grandstand, Oppose, and Pretend.”