Conrad: Colleagues' vote for health reform a 'profile in courage'

Many senators' votes for health reform legislation mark a "profile in courage," Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Monday.

Conrad acknowledged that the legislation, which is expected to move forward in the Senate this week with the support of all 60 Democrats, is "not particularly popular" in some states, making his colleagues' votes in favor of it even more striking.

"Look in my state and many others, this isn't particularly popular. Why, then, are 60 senators voting for it even though we know, at the moment, it's not particularly popular?" Conrad argued during an appearance on MSNBC. "It's because we deeply believe this is going to improve things in our country in the long term."

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Conrad is one of those senators from a Republican-leaning state, and had worked amongst a group of centrists to craft compromise legislation throughout the past months on healthcare.

He praised his fellow 59 Democrats for voting on the bill.

"In many ways and many cases of our colleagues, this is a profile in courage, because they believe it's in the national interest," he said.

But the North Dakota Democrat reiterated his claim that the final healthcare bill would need to be "very close" to what the Senate has crafted, or risk losing its filibuster-proof majority in the upper chamber.

"I think the reality is also very clear: If in overall dimension and context this bill isn't close to the Senate bill, there will be no way to get the 60 votes here," said Conrad, who also rejected the notion of the House being forced to simply accept what the Senate is expected to pass this week.