DeWine joins Dems on health amendments

Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine broke ranks seven times with his fellow Republicans on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, voting for Democratic amendments to a bill on small-business health insurance.

The other 10 Republicans on the committee opposed the amendments, which failed on 10-10 votes. DeWine voted against 10 other amendments that failed 11-9, on party lines.

The seven Democratic amendments DeWine voted for were on issues affecting women's health, infant health, clinical trials, autism and disease prevention. They were offered by Sens. Tom Harkin (Iowa), Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Patty Murray (Wash.) and Chris Dodd (Conn.).

"We weren't supersurprised because Senator Harkin and Senator DeWine have a history of working together on [disease] prevention," Harkin spokeswoman Allison Dobson said.

However, a Democratic Senate aide said Ohio chapters of national healthcare advocacy groups pressured DeWine, who faces a tough election race against Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). DeWine's office did not return calls.

The committee approved the GOP bill 11-9 on a party-line vote.

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