You Can Take the Man Out of Politics…

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Just when we thought Dennis Kucinich was the last Democrat objecting to the bill because it wasn’t progressive enough, enter Rep. Steve Lynch. The Massachusetts Dem, who voted for the bill in November, says he doesn’t like the Senate version because it doesn’t do enough to put competition into the health insurance market – ie, there’s not a robust public plan; he doesn’t like Louise Slaughter’s deem & pass strategy; and he doesn’t have faith that the Senate would act on the reconciliation amendments once passed. “There are 290 bills that we’ve sent them sitting over there. They’ll just add this to the pile,” Lynch told reporters Thursday in the Speaker’s Lobby outside a vote. “I’ll vote for it when they put “reform” back into health care reform.”

Lynch says he’s under “considerable” pressure. And, in fact, he was scheduled to head to the White House for his first one-on-one with President Obama this afternoon. Some House aides speculated that Lynch, often considered one of the more conservative Democrats in the Bay State delegation, might be eyeing a run for Scott Brown’s Senate seat and is trying to spare himself the inevitable tv attack ads. Lynch made no mention of political aspirations, saying only that he would stand by his personal convictions on the vote.

Also eschewing political considerations, or so he said, was Rep. Brad Ellworth, an Indiana moderate Dem. Ellworth, you may remember, worked with Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak on pro-life abortion language but he is conspicuously not amongst Stupak’s dozen this time around. What’s changed? Ellsworth is now heir apparent to retiring Senator Evan Bayh’s seat and it’s a little hard to ask for the backing of a party whose top objective you just voted down. Still, when asked today, Ellsworth said that while he is personally struggling with the abortion issue he remains firmly “undecided,” and he underlined that that is the only consideration he is taking into account on this vote.

Alabama Rep. Artur Davis who is running for governor voted against the bill the first time and remains a solid Nay. But there a few up and coming young Dems often cited as potential candidates for higher office who voted for the House version but now are undecided such as Connecticut’s Chris Murphy and New York’s Anthony Weiner. It looks like we shall see where the chips fall on Sunday as the Speaker’s office said today they look on track for what will surely be one of the most highly watched weekend votes in years.