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The critical votes come home for the House's health-care reform bill

Rep. Jim Cooper, a moderate Democrat from Tennessee, has been skeptical of the House's health-care reform bill from the beginning. But a press release sent moments ago by his office announced his intention to vote for health-care reform. And it's not because he supports this bill. It's because he does not want to stand in the process's way.

I will vote yes on H.R. 3962. My vote is not an endorsement of all the provisions of the bill because I find much of the bill to be deeply flawed. There is little chance that H.R. 3962 will become law due to the long legislative process.

My reason for voting yes is to advance the cause of health care reform by forcing the Senate to act. Without passage of this House bill, the Senate could delay reform indefinitely. That would be the worst possible outcome because our current health-care system is not sustainable. Congress needs to pass good health legislation in the next few months for the good of the country.

Passing legislation is a little like writing a term paper in school. The first draft is usually not very good. The second draft is better -- H.R. 3962 is the second draft. The bill that the Senate will vote on will be the third draft, which I expect to show major improvement. The final draft will be written next month when the House and the Senate vote on the same bill. I will continue to work hard to make sure that the final legislation helps all of our families get quality, affordable health care.

This is what passage looks like. Unpleasant compromises. Reluctant congressmen. Ambivalent press releases. Whatever is needed, no matter how painful, to secure the necessary 218 votes and move forward.

By Ezra Klein  |  November 7, 2009; 11:26 AM ET
 
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Comments

Wow ! That is a yes vote from The Jim Cooper. I consider him as responsible as anyone other than Harrold, Louise and Ira Magaziner for the failure of health care reform in 1994, oh and Betsy McCaughey and Andrew Sullivan and John Breux and ...

It took a village to stop reform, but cooper was definitely a village elder.

Posted by: rjw88 | November 7, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

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