As House Republicans push a bill to repeal the new health care law, Democrats find themselves far more united in support of President Obama's reforms, and for one simple reason: The dissenters are gone.
It's a bittersweet situation for House Democrats, able to exercise greater discipline among the caucus, but having lost the majority and missing dozens of the conservative Democrats with whom most of the caucus didn't see eye to eye--some of them veterans of Congress whose midterm losses surprised many, some of them sophomores who helped Democrats take over Congress four years ago in the 2006 wave.
The House voted Friday to move forward on the GOP's repeal agenda, and four Democrats sided with Republicans, signaling four probable votes in favor of repeal next week.
The four repeal-supporting Democrats were North Carolina's Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre, Oklahoma's Dan Boren, and Arkansas's Mike Ross.
All four voted against health reform last March, when it first passed the House. And all four won re-election, while many who bucked the party line on health care were not so fortunate.
"An overwhelming majority of my constituents have made it clear that they do not support this specific health care legislation. I voted against the measure in the last Congress and I will support the repeal," Boren explained in a statement.