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Health Care: Yvette Clarke ALMOST Takes the Pledge

Yvette Clarke is a cosponsor of H.R. 676. She lives in a D+38 district. If 76% of Americans support a public plan, the people who live in Rep. Clarke’s district undoubtedly support one overwhelmingly.

It’s great that Rep. Clarke signed on to the letter pledging to oppose the health care bill if the Blue Dogs (who were holding the health care bill hostage) got everything they wanted. It was not so great when they backed down three days later — and the Blue Dogs got everything they wanted.

Rep. Clarke signed the 2007 letter saying she would not vote for any war funding that did not include troop withdrawal. She voted "no" on the war supplemental the first time it went through the House this year. She signed Maxine Waters’ letter saying that the IMF funding subsequently added to the supplemental "precluded the possibility of House legislation."

Her name appeared on internal whip lists as someone who pledged to her colleagues that she would vote against the supplemental when it had to be confirmed after conference. And then the arm twisting started.

Rep. Clarke voted FOR on the supplemental.

So you can see why it’s wise to take treat these group pledges with some skepticism, because the members of Congress themselves don’t seem to feel themselves bound by them. When they go on the record to their constituents about how they plan to vote, it makes it a lot harder to backpeddle.

Yvette Clarke doesn’t have any health care events planned so far for recess (though she does have a golf tournament fundraiser). She comes awfully close to taking the pledge on the WNYC with Amy Eddings today, saying she wouldn’t vote for a "watered down" version. It would be good to know exactly what "watered down" means — will she vote for co-ops, or triggers, or giveaways to PhRMA because the White House doesn’t want to be 13-1?

Call her office and let us know what you hear: 718-287-1142

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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