McDermott votes against Christmas resolution to protest Bush veto
Rep. Jim McDermott says he's no Grinch, even though he voted against Christmas. The veteran Seattle Democrat voted against a House resolution...
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Jim McDermott says he's no Grinch, even though he voted against Christmas.
The veteran Seattle Democrat voted against a House resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas, but called it a protest against President Bush's veto of a children's health care bill.
"While the Republicans are passing a resolution celebrating Christmas, the president was vetoing health care for children. There's a little bit of irony going on around here," McDermott said today.
Earlier this year, McDermott voted in favor of resolutions honoring Ramadan and Diwali. Ramadan is an Islamic holiday, while Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and others.
"There's 10,000 kids in my state that won't have a health care plan" because Bush vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children, McDermott said. The veto was the second time Bush rejected a bipartisan effort in Congress to dramatically increase funding for the popular program.
"I guess I'm the only guy left in Congress who still gets angry, but there are some things that are just not right," McDermott said.
On that last point, at least, Republicans agreed. They reacted furiously to the vote by McDermott and eight other Democrats who opposed the Christmas resolution.
The Christmas measure was approved 372-9. Democrats cast all the no votes. Ten lawmakers, including Republican Mike Pence of Indiana, voted "present."
McDermott, in his 10th term, is revered by many of his liberal constituents in Seattle for his anti-war stance and other votes. But he is loathed by many conservatives, who call him "Baghdad Jim" in honor of his prewar trip to Iraq, where he said he believed Saddam Hussein but not Bush.
In an interview today, McDermott said he knew he would take some political heat for his actions, but said if it forces a discussion of Bush's veto, "then it was a good protest vote."
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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