Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
Rep. Joseph Cao, the only Republican to vote for health care reform, said Thursday that he has told the White House he will not vote for the president's proposal.
"I have conveyed to the White House that at this point I cannot support the agenda that's being pushed because of the federal funding for abortion," Cao said in an interview with CNN. "Unless the abortion language changes, I cannot support the president's program."
Cao once aspired to become a Catholic priest and remains a devout, pro-life Catholic. He voted for language included in the House bill offered by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) that included tight restrictions on federal funding for any health insurance plan that included coverage for abortion.The Senate bill uses language from Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) that is less restrictive and has been called "morally unacceptable" by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The White House proposal released Monday uses the Senate language on abortion.
Cao predicted that at least 12 House members who voted for health care reform in November will vote against it unless the House's abortion language is used. He also said that he has not been approached by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and has spoken with White House staff only once about the matter.
"I think the health care vote in the House will depend on the abortion language," he said.