Congressional Hispanics announce support for health-care bill
By Paul Kane
Allaying a lingering concern about immigration issues in the health-care battle, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus announced its unanimous support for President Obama's key domestic agenda initiative.
The decision knocks down another potential roadblock to reaching the necessary 216 votes for final passage, setting up abortion as the key issue remaining (outside of steep political concerns about the bill's impact on the midterm elections).
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and several other CHC members had been threatening to withhold their support because of provisions the Senate added restricting illegal immigrants from using their own money to access the insurance exchanges that would be established by the proposed legislation.
However, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), with more than 20 CHC members behind her, told reporters the broader impact of the legislation overrode the other concerns. She said 8.8 million Latinos would gain insurance coverage in the legislation, a "historic opportunity" not to be missed.
Meanwhile, Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) -- a key member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition -- said the estimates from the Congressional Budget Office that the legislation would shave more than $1.2 trillion of the federal deficit "satisfies" his concerns about the fiscal impact of the legislation. Ellsworth, who is running statewide for the Senate, said his only key concern left was the abortion language imposed by the Senate.
For a full list of how representatives have said they will vote -- and who remains undecided -- see The Post's comprehensive and continuously updated "Who's in play" graphic.
March 18, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Health Care
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