This couldn't have been easy. He was the only Republican to break ranks. I'm glad he did.
Though I am pro-choice and proud, the Congressman is clearly passionate about his side of that endless debate and at the very least, I respect the consistency with which he couched his reservations about healthcare reform in terms of the language around abortion.
On the other hand, Congressman Charlie Melancon voted no. It's getting harder to figure out how he'd be an improvement over David Vitter.
How about Joseph Cao for Senate instead?
Here is his full statement:
Tonight, Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA-2) voted in favor of the comprehensive health reform bill, H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.
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.
The bill passed the House at a 220-215 vote.
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.
H.R. 3962 included the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which will keep in place current federal law on abortion funding and conscience protections for health care providers.
Cao said: “Before the Stupak-Pitts amendment was adopted as part of this health reform bill, the bill failed to explicitly include the longstanding policy prohibiting federal funding of elective abortion and plans which include elective abortion.”
According to a letter from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops dated November 7, 2009, “The [Stupak-Pitts] Amendment will not affect coverage of abortion in nonsubsidized health plans, and will not bar anyone from purchasing a supplemental abortion policy with their own funds.”
Cao said: “Thank to the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, taxpayer dollars will not go to supporting elective abortions, and for thousands of my constituents, this was a top priority. By incorporating this amendment into the health reform bill, my colleagues and I made this bill better, and that is an achievement of which I will always be proud.”
Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, the archbishop of New Orleans, said: “I am grateful to Congressman Cao for his courage and determination to defend life. I appreciate his work to prevent abortion from being included in health care reform and for protecting conscience rights of health care professionals. I – and, I am sure, many in New Orleans would join me – [I] appreciate Congressman Cao's commitment to the people of New Orleans."