The two newly elected Congressmen, Bill Owens (NY-23) and John Garamendi (CA-10) voted with the slim majority in support of health care reform. Democrats opposed to the plan ranged from single payer advocates like Dennis Kucinich and Eric Massa to camp, who voted against the bill because what they really wanted was single payer, to the "blue dog" Democrats who were expected to vote with Republicans. Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats campaigned for an anti-abortion amendment to the bill, saying that federal funds cannot be used to fund abortions; the amendment passed 240-194, but even with their amendment passed, those members of Congress still voted "no" to the final bill. (The amendment duplicates one already in place, The Hyde Amendment, which also prohibits federal funding for abortion; because of that duplication, the amendment is expected to be stripped in committee when the House bill is merged with the Senate bill).
Pete Sessions distinguished himself in the debate by defending the insurance industry practice of charging women more for health insurance comparing women to smokers, then joining Republicans in staging an "I Object" shout down of the Democratic Women's Caucus as members took turns at the podium explaining how women benefit from health care reform. (One of our Sessions Watchers who served as an International Observer in Northern Ireland compared the outburst to Rev. Ian Paisley's "No, no, no" shout down of George Mitchell during the Good Friday Agreement.)
Republicans on the Sessions Watch team give a sarcastic "thanks a lot" to Pete Sessions and the protesters for making our party look like a childish gang of misogynists; Democrats on the team give Pete Sessions a sincere thanks, once again, for delivering two more congressional seats to the Democrats and pushing the votes for health care reform over the 218 mark.