Only one New York City congressman, Michael McMahon of Staten Island and Brooklyn, voted ‘no’ on last night’s historic health care reform bill, which passed with just a handful more votes than necessary.
WNYC reports that McMahon “opposed an earlier House version of the bill and has remained staunchly, if quietly, against his party’s majority ever since.”
“Unlike others,” WNYC reports, “McMahon has offered virtually no public statements accounting for his vote until Sunday night.” After the vote, he told the Staten Island Advance that he was “proud to vote no because it is the right thing for my district.”
McMahon was lobbied by the Obama Administration until the end, but told the Advance his final call from the White House was “more of a confirmation call (of the expected ‘no’ vote) than anything else,” and that he “has not been threatened, and I will continue to be an independent voice for the district.”
Daily News writer Michael McAuliff says, “McMahon doesn’t say it, but perhaps his biggest problem is he has a Republican-leaning district, and most Staten Islanders like what insurance they have better than what they fear they will get.” When the freshman Democrat won his seat last fall, it had long been Republican, and probably still would be, had Vito Fossella’s arrest for drunk driving not led to the revelation that he had an out of wedlock child.
The Advance interviewed constituents who were both pleased and angered by McMahon’s vote. It remains to be seen what political credit, if any, McMahon’s vote will earn him.
One bill opponent “applauded” McMahon, says the Advance, as he noted “The cost of this is going to be way out of control.” But the same person also went on to seem to support government spending on health care anyway, saying, “As it is we only have two hospitals on Staten Island. What we should be talking about is a city hospital on Staten Island.”
Staten Island Tea Party organizer Frank Santarpia was even more direct about how he will not reward the congressman for trying to kill the bill. Though the Advance said he wanted to “thank and applaud” McMahon for his “no” vote, “that doesn’t mean he’ll vote for him this fall.”
“As long as the congressman has a ‘D’ next to his name, he will be part of the problem in perpetuating the Pelosi Congress,” Santarpia told the Advance.
Only one other member of the New York State Democratic congressional delegation, Syracuse Congressman Michael Arcuri, voted against the bill.