As House Democratic leaders advised their members Friday to prepare for a legislative battle over health care that could stretch through next weekend, four additional rank-and-file Democrats have come out against the Obama administration's signature domestic priority.
Reps. Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Luiz Gutierrez of Illinois, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin of South Dakota and Heath Shuler of North Carolina say they will vote against their party's health care plan, which may be headed to a final vote late next week.
"At this time, I am a 'no' vote on health care," said Gutierrez in a written statement. "It's no secret that I have been critical of proposals that would exclude our nation's hardworking immigrants from the health care exchange, and I would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to vote for any measure that denies undocumented workers health care purchased with their own dollars."
According to an ongoing CNN survey, 21 House Democrats have now indicated they will vote against the Senate bill when it comes to the floor, though six of those members say they would consider voting for it if it were significantly modified. Opponents of the bill need a total of 38 Democrats to vote against the measure to ensure its defeat, assuming that all Republican members remain unified in their opposition.
Some members made clear that their votes are not negotiable. Josh Taylor, a spokesman for Texas Rep. Chet Edwards, told CNN the congressman "voted 'no' on health care the first time around and will vote 'no' the second." (continue reading at CNN)