Murphy Explains His No

ALBANY—Three New York Democrats voted against the health care bill that narrowly passed the House of Representatives Saturday, and labor groups have already iterated their disappointment with the vote.

Scott Murphy, Eric Massa and Mike McMahon all voted no; Massa was clear about his intentions but Murphy was on the fence until the last possible minute. Steve Kornacki writes that this is no surprise; Murphy was elected to a district that consistently delivered Republicans until John Sweeney lost it amid allegations of drinking with college students and domestically abusing his wife.

“This bill makes a number of important reforms, which I wholeheartedly support,” Murphy said in a statement. “I am deeply frustrated by the last minute addition of over $50 billion in taxes on the two largest private employers in the 20th District – medical device manufacturers and paper mills.”

This could mean trouble for Murphy. One of the major factors in his special election win over Jim Tedisco was the support of labor; SEIU 1199 spent more money on his race than that DCCC, and labor unions like PEF knocked on many doors for him.

“As for those who voted against the bill, the New York State AFL-CIO is disappointed by their actions,” said Denis Hughes, that organization’s president, in a statement. “We hope that they will eventually vote for final passage of health care reform that closely mirrors the values contained in HR 3962. And most important, we trust they will support legislation that will finally bring security and stability to our nation’s health care system.”

The political calculation is whether their support can be won back, and if not whether its loss is a greater threat to his re-election than a stance which the electorate might consider Murphy has scheduled a press conference this afternoon to “address Saturday’s vote on health care reform.”