Vietnamese-American Anh "Joseph" Cao, the lone Republican to back a sweeping House health reform bill, defended his vote Sunday as the right move, "even if it costs me my political future."
"I made the vote to support the health care reform bill because a lot of my constituents are uninsured, a lot of them are poor and it was the right decision for the people of my district," said Cao, following the historic vote to approve a one-trillion dollar health care reform program.
"I had to make a decision and I felt that last night's decision was the right decision for my district, even though it was not the popular decision for my party," Cao, 42, told CNN television on Sunday.
Special: Get Sarah Palin’s New Book – Incredible FREE Offer -- Click Here Now.
"I've always been focusing on making the right decisions for the people of my district, whether or not it will cost me my political future," he said.
He was speaking after the House of Representatives narrowly handed President Barack Obama a major legislative victory on his key domestic priority.
The bill, approved by a vote of 220-215, would extend health coverage to some 36 million Americans who lack it now. But a similar version now faces a battle to pass the US Senate.
Born in Saigon, Cao -- the first native of Vietnam to serve in Congress -- Cao came to the United States as an eight-year old refugee, with members of his family.
The political newcomer, trained as an immigration attorney, was elected in a special election in December to his mostly poor, mostly black district in New Orleans, where two-thirds of the registered voters are Democrats.
His seat was previously held by William Jefferson, who was ousted by voters following a bribery scandal.
Copyright AFP. All rights reserved.