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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

East Bay Congressman Jerry McNerney Still Waffling on Health Care Vote -- But Not For Reasons You'd Expect

Posted By on Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 5:30 PM

click to enlarge Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, might soon have some explaining to do
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, might soon have some explaining to do
With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco promising to deliver enough votes to pass landmark federal health care legislation by the end of the week, one of her Democratic colleagues to the east continues to keep observers guessing about whether he'll support the bill.

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton), is the last remaining Congressional representative from the Bay Area to decide where he stands on the legislation. While McNerney supported the House health care bill, he has voiced reservations about the Senate version of the bill that Democrats are now looking to pass.

What's interesting here is that McNerney, who four years ago ousted powerful Republican "Rancher Congressman" Richard Pombo, has said he doesn't like the reform package because it isn't ambitious enough. Not exactly what you'd expect from a well-known centrist trying to hold on to a seat in a swing district.

The Morgan

Hill Times reported last week that McNerney doesn't think the Senate bill covers

enough of the uninsured and that it should include a "public option" insurance scheme.

These are complaints more common among the bill's ultra-liberal critics

than the conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats -- many of them representing constituencies similar to McNerney's -- who have also been slow to warm to health care

reform, citing its cost for small businesses and the threat a public option would pose to private insurers.

Maybe McNerney figures a "No" vote on reform, no matter the justification, is enough to appease conservatives in his district, which includes parts of the East Bay and Central Valley. At any rate, he has apparently been feeling the heat on how to cast his vote. If Pelosi's right, and the bill comes up for a vote by the end of the week, we should know where he stands soon enough.

Photo   |   Office of Congressman Jerry McNerney

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Peter Jamison


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