WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 9/11 health care bill has its first Republican vote in the Senate.
At a press conference this afternoon, Republican Congressman Peter King said that Mark Kirk, the Illinois congressman who won Barack Obama’s old seat, will support the bill.
“He’s told me he’ll definitely vote for the bill–no ifs, ands, or buts. He’s voting for the bill,” King said to applause from the crowd.
Because Kirk won in a special election, he’ll be seated sooner than the other members elected earlier this month. King said he expects Kirk to be sworn in sometime around December 1. Supporters of the bill have said they expect a vote sometime in the early part of next month.
Kirk would bring the vote total to 59–one shy of the magical 60–if all the Democrats stay behind the bill.
But during the question-and-answer session, that support was called into question. One reporter recounted an earlier conversation with Mayor Bloomberg–who was on Capitol Hill today lobbying for the bill–as saying he ”had to work on a few Democrats too.”
“I think we’ll have all Democratic votes,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who led the press conference and the Q-and-A.
“The senator would know more than I,” the mayor said.
“We don’t take any votes for granted,” they both said.
“I have a very high degree of confidence we will have all the Democrats,” Gillibrand said.