Democrats gain support

Nuns, Kucinich back their version of health-care bill


Democrats picked up support Wednesday for their health care overhaul from some important quarters — a congressman who had opposed the bill, an influential anti-abortion lawmaker and a coalition of Catholic nuns — but they still appeared to be short of the number needed to pass the legislation in the House of Representatives.

House Democratic leaders were buoyed by the backing of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who had voted against the bill in November, and of Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., who explained, “I am a staunch pro-life member of Congress, both for the born and the unborn.”

The nuns’ group sent a letter saying, “We urge you to vote ‘yes’ for life by voting yes for health care reform.”

House Democratic leaders hope for a vote on the legislation by the weekend, but they’ve been unable to douse a series of political brush fires, including controversies over cost, abortion and political risk.

The House is expected to take two votes on the health care overhaul.

Under the most widely discussed scenario, it would vote first on the rule governing debate, which would include a provision “deeming” the Senate’s version of the health bill passed once the rule is adopted.

If that is approved, a second vote would occur on a package of changes to the Senate health legislation, or “reconciliation.”

By DAVID LIGHTMAN – McClatchy Newspapers

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