(Cross-posted from CooperUncovered.)
Dru's Vues has Re. Jim Cooper's official statement on his health care vote, where he appears to admit voting for it only because he feels strongly it won't actually become law:
“I am grateful to the thousands of Nashville-area residents who have shared their opinion on health care reform with me. Everyone feels strongly because health care is so important to our lives. Having read the pending bills and having taught health policy at Vanderbilt business school for twelve years, I have made the following decision:
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.”
Cooper fought hard over the past few months to stall the process, to ensure that a robust public option was not included in the bill, and to ensure that the same corporate for-profit health care industry forces that fund his campaigns would be able to write the bill themselves with minimal input from Congress itself.
Even so, multiple members of Cooper's Blue Dog Coalition have indicated they will vote no on the bill. Cooper himself went on CBS' Face the Nation in July to say loudly that he would vote against the previous House language. So what changed?
In late August, a poll came out showing that Cooper's Democratic constituents in TN-05 strongly disapproved of his positions on health care. He fired back indignantly calling the pollster biased. In late September, Cooper Uncovered launched, and serious talk of a primary challenge increased. Cooper fired back indignantly, saying he wasn't worried.
By attempting with this vote to paper over his previous work to kill meaningful health care reform this year just like he did in 1994, Cooper is responding to the pressure being brought on him by progressive Democrats in Nashville and across the country.