Dems applaud, opponents plan to fight health bill

March 23, 2010 4:33:08 AM PDT
Democratic leaders applauded as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the health care reform bill. But as the Democrats savor their victory, the opposition is already making plans to fight the health care overhaul.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law Tuesday.

At least 10 states are considering lawsuits against the federal government over the constitutionality of the health care bill.

Illinois Republicans are hoping that the health care vote will give them a chance to regain lost suburban congressional seats they considered strongholds only a few years ago. The pro-healthcare reform Democrats currently in those seats are convinced they voted the right way.

"This is about doing due diligence on behalf of small businesses and families that I represent in the 8th District," said U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, (D) Northwest Suburbs.

Bean had no regrets about her "yes" vote, barely a week after dozens of anti-reform demonstrators marched outside her Schaumburg office demanding that she oppose health care reform. Her Republican opponent in November, Joe Walsh, says Bean will pay a political price.

"Most people in my district do not and did not this reform. They know there's a better way and they know we can't afford it," said Walsh.

The 11 District's Debbie Halvorson and the 14th's Bill Foster joined Bean as suburban Democrats who resisted anti-reform pressures in their until-recently Republican held districts.

"This isn't about re-election. This is about doing what's right. I didn't come to Congress here to warm a seat. I came here to do what's right by the people," said U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, (D) Crete.

The only Illinois Democrat to vote against the bill was Dan Lipinski who represents Chicago's Southwest Side and Suburbs.

"This bill had too many serious flaws in it so I could not support it," said U.S. Dan Lipinski, (D) Chicago & West Suburbs.

Even Lipinski agreed the president was the big political winner, having achieved his major domestic policy initiative only 14 months after taking office.

Chicago's Luis Gutierrez says he's been assured the president's next target is immigration reform.

"We've got refocus, recommitment, reenergized White House, which is finally saying, 'okay, Luis, we're going to move on comprehensive immigration reform,'" said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, (D) Chicago.

But Republican Peter Roskam says Obama and his Democrats were weakened by the health care vote and the public perception that they forced reform on an unwilling country.

"While Democrats may run Washington, D.C., it's the American people that run the country and they are going to have the final word," said Rep. Peter Roskam, (R) DuPage County.