The 39 House Democrats Who Defied Obama’s Veto Threat (Updated)

Posted November 15, 2013 at 2:18pm

Updated 4:04 p.m. | President Barack Obama vowed to veto legislation that would let insurers keep selling old policies to new customers, as well as revive them for existing customers for another year, but 39 Democrats defied him and their party leadership Friday and voted for the bill.

All but three of the Democratic members on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline incumbent protection program voted with Upton and the GOP — Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, Lois Capps of California and John F. Tierney of Massachusetts.

But Kirkpatrick wasn’t exactly aligning herself with the president, either, issuing a blistering statement after the vote.

“The stunning ineptitude of the ACA marketplace rollout is more than a public relations disaster,” she said. “It is a disaster for the working families in my Arizona district who badly need quality, affordable health care.”

She said she voted against the Upton bill “because it would neither fix nor improve the ACA. It would raise premiums and undermine market reform — by discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, restoring annual caps on care, and forcing women to pay more than men for the same coverage.”

Democratic leaders did manage to hold the vote well below a veto-proof majority — something that didn’t seem assured before Obama’s announced administrative fix.

Progressives and more liberal-leaning Democrats in particular struggled with the political implications for casting what is being called a vote of no confidence against the White House.

In the end, many of those lawmakers who said they were wrestling with the options before Friday afternoon ended up voting “no.” They include Anna G. Eshoo of California, Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, Peter Welch of Vermont and Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia.

In remarks delivered on the House floor Friday, Doyle articulated the circumstances that might have upped Democrats’ yield in the “no” vote department on the Upton bill.

“I told my caucus, if the president doesn’t come up with a fix, if our leadership doesn’t come up with an alternative to this, maybe many of us would consider voting for the Upton bill,” said Doyle. “But the good news is, the president has responded, we will have a motion to recommit today that responds.”

There were, however, a handful of normally reliable votes for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who sided with Republicans on this particular measure: Tim Walz of Minnesota, who chairs the Frontline program, and John Garamendi of California.

Another Democratic defector is a member of leadership: Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, who is the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee.

Additional Democrats who voted on the Upton legislation represented the more conservative wing of the minority party.

Some of the few remaining members of the once-sizable Blue Dog Coalition voted for the bill, including Jim Costa of California, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Agriculture ranking member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota.

Other defectors hailed from the freshman class of the 113th Congress, which represents moderate lawmakers facing tough re-election bids in 2013. Two of these freshmen — Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire and Dan Maffei of New York — were actually ousted from office in the Republican wave of 2010, in part over their stances on the health care law, but reclaimed those seats in 2012.

Lastly, 21 of the 22 Democrats who voted for the one-year delay of the individual mandate on the House floor this summer also voted for the Upton bill on Friday. Kirkpatrick was the one holdout this time around.

Here’s the list of 39 Democrats, with Frontline members getting an asterisk:

Ron Barber of Arizona*
John Barrow of Georgia*
Ami Bera of California*
Timothy H. Bishop of New York*
Bruce Braley of Iowa
Julia Brownley of California*
Cheri Bustos of Illinois*
Jim Costa of California
Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon
Suzan DelBene of Washington*
Tammy Duckworth of Illinois
Bill Enyart of Illinois*
Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut*
Bill Foster of Illinois
Pete Gallego of Texas*
John Garamendi of Califonia
Joe Garcia of Florida*
Ron Kind of Wisconsin
Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire*
Dave Loebsack of Iowa
Dan Maffei of New York*
Sean Patrick Maloney of New York*
Jim Matheson of Utah*
Mike McIntyre of North Carolina*
Jerry McNerney of California
Patrick Murphy of Florida*
Rick Nolan of Minnesota
Bill Owens of New York*
Scott Peters of California*
Gary Peters of Michigan
Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota
Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia
Raul Ruiz of California*
Brad Schneider of Illinois*
Kurt Schrader of Oregon
Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire*
Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona*
Filemon Vela of Texas
Tim Walz of Minnesota