Ellison replaces Conyers on Dem single-payer bill

Ellison replaces Conyers on Dem single-payer bill
© Haiyun Jiang

Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonOmar seeks to fend off late surge from primary challenger Republican lawmakers say Minnesota mask order violates state law against hiding identity Vermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism MORE (D-Minn.) has replaced former Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersBiden's immigration plan has serious problems Tlaib wins Michigan Democratic primary Tlaib holds lead in early vote count against primary challenger MORE Jr. as the main sponsor of the House Democrats’ single-payer health-care bill.

Ellison on Wednesday received unanimous consent from the House to assume leadership of H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which has the support of a majority of the House Democratic Caucus.

Conyers had introduced a version of the single-payer bill every year since 2003, but he resigned in December over sexual misconduct allegations, leaving no obvious candidates to take over stewardship of the bill.

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In a floor speech Wednesday, Ellison said he has the support of his former colleague “for picking up the mantle where he left off.”

Ellison also received the support of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersChris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Kamala Harris: The outreach Latinos need Biden and Harris seen as more moderate than Trump and Pence: poll MORE (I-Vt.), a pioneer of "Medicare for All" in the Senate. His legislation has 16 Democratic co-sponsors; the House bill has 121.

“With [Ellison’s] leadership, I know we will be able to take on the greed of health insurance and pharmaceutical companies and finally guarantee health care to all,” Sanders tweeted.

Sanders earlier this week told The Hill he thinks the Democratic Party is moving closer to his position on health care.

The House bill contains only an outline of how it would raise the trillions of dollars needed to establish universal health care, but it has become a focus of Democratic energy.

Removing Conyers’s name from the bill might solve an image problem for Democrats, who would likely want to avoid having their signature health-care issue associated with someone who resigned in disgrace.

However, Ellison is the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee and is sure to face Republican attacks for his support of the bill.