Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, known for milking her 5 minutes of fame and attention-whoring ways, apparently was not on the Hill today, one of the busiest days in Congress this year on the eve of the historic health care vote. I have been following the vote tally on twitter and from various news sources, but the latest from via Fire Dog Lake and Roll Call is this:
As their whip efforts narrow to just a handful of Members, House Democratic leaders are facing an unlikely problem vote: Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.).
Sanchez was nowhere to be found on Saturday — she was in Florida on a fundraising jaunt, two Democratic sources said — and while leaders expected her to return for the Sunday vote on final passage, they weren’t assured. What’s more, leaders now list the Orange County Democrat as a “no” vote.
Sanchez’s office did not return a request for comment Saturday evening. She cast her last vote shortly after 6 p.m. Friday and missed all seven recorded votes on Saturday, a review of the record shows.
Sanchez this week told the Orange County Register that she needs to be satisfied that the health care overhaul is affordable. “The Senate bill is a bad bill,” she told the paper.
Politically, the vote should be a relatively easy lift for Sanchez. The seven-term lawmaker has been re-elected with at least 60 percent of the vote since 2000, winning by a decisive 69 percent in 2008. President Barack Obama carried the district by 60 percent.
I find it absolutely appalling that Congresswoman Sanchez was not at work today, but I’m not entirely surprised. She has proven to be among the least serious legislators over the years, and she does have a knack for drawing attention to herself in the most unflattering way. She voted for health care previously in the fall when it originally passed the House, and she even came out saying that she was in favor of a single payer universal health care system this summer. Ok, we didn’t get a single payer bill, but there are some important things that take effect within six months such as:
* Insurers wouldn’t be allowed to cancel policies just because a person became sick or to place lifetime caps on care
* New insurance plans would have to pay full cost of certain preventive care and exempt such care from deductibles
* Children could stay on their parents’ insurance policies until their 26th birthday
And although it doesn’t happen until 2014, insurers would be barred from denying people of coverage due to pre-existing conditions. This is a big one for me since there are a handful of people I care about who cannot obtain insurance for this very reason.
Congresswoman Sanchez’s fundraising efforts can wait, but many in her district who are struggling for some consumer protection and access to health care can’t. While she jet sets to Florida and laughs all the way to the bank on the taxpayer’s dime and enjoys her wonderful health care, she just expressed to the constituents in California’s 47th District where they rank on her priority list. If Sanchez does vote “no” tomorrow, I can’t wait to hear the explanation. Was she canoodling with Jack Einwechter or did she take John Saylor out for another excursion courtesy of your tax dollars (perhaps she’s at The Four Seasons in Miami)? Or better yet, like Robert Cruikshank speculates, maybe she doesn’t want to be re-elected after all.
UPDATED: Representative Loretta Sanchez voted YES on the health care bill.