Dems to defend health law as anniversary nears

Butterfield joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Reps. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Henry Cuellar (Texas) and John Sarbanes (Md.), along with citizens who had benefited from the bill, in a brief exchange with reporters. 

Butterfield, a member of the party’s steering committee on policy, defended the subtle approach.


"You could do a massive event on the Capitol steps, that's one type of philosophy," he said. "The other is just to have a small event and commemorate it and to make a statement for the public through the media."

Butterfield said the option Pelosi chose was "appropriate."

"We didn't want to have any type of incidents that would be unnecessary," he said.

A massive event that was well-publicized, Butterfield added, "could have invited a backlash response, and I'm glad [Pelosi] did it this way."

Despite the Kaiser survey showing that the public isn't suffering from healthcare fatigue, Butterfield insisted voters want Congress to focus on the economy.

The healthcare debate has ended, except for the court battle, he explained. "We've got to move on to creating jobs and helping small businesses and empowering the middle class. We can't continue [the] healthcare debate. We took a year to do that."

Republicans will still bring it up on the campaign trail, the Democrat admitted. "But I think public opinion is going to be overwhelmingly in our favor.

"It's a significant legislative accomplishment, without question," Butterfield continued. "One day, we're going to look back on this legislation and say, 'It was the right thing at the right time.' "