Rep. Cao to sit down with Obama on healthcare

GOP Rep. Joseph Cao (La.) is in the process of setting up a private meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the healthcare reform bill.

Often cited by Democratic political operatives as the most vulnerable House Republican, the White House has pressured Cao on past big-ticket legislation including the economic stimulus package and cap-and-trade.

ADVERTISEMENT
In a statement released late Wednesday, the 42-year-old lawmaker said that he was taking up the president's offer to go over the bill "line by line" with any member of Congress.

Cao's office reports that the lawmaker has contacted the White House and a "meeting is in the works."

“I am approaching this healthcare bill with the best interests of Orleans and Jefferson parishes in mind,” he said. “If the president is willing to meet with members of Congress, then I’m definitely going to take the opportunity to discuss my constituents’ concerns. As I travel the area, I’m asking everyone to share their healthcare concerns with me, and I will deliver them to President Obama.”

Democratic political operatives contend that Cao is the most vulnerable House Republican in 2010; he is the first Republican in more than 100 years to represent Louisiana's 2nd district.

The lower chamber's first Vietnam native eked out a victory in a special election against then-indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.). Jefferson has since been convicted on corruption charges and awaits sentencing.

Cao, a devout Catholic, has indicated that he would oppose Obama's healthcare reform bill if it includes public funding for abortions, but he has other problems with the bill.

“I will not vote for a bad bill,” he said. “The bill, in its current form, will not provide relief to the middle class or to low-income workers who cannot afford health insurance, so it does not, in fact, provide universal coverage. I am focused on preventive care, increasing the number of medical students and workers and bringing more medical resources to Orleans and Jefferson parishes.”