Democrat says Cantor’s office issued “unauthorized” statement about his health care vote

Jon Ward Contributor
Font Size:

Rep. Henry Cuellar, Texas Democrat, is not happy with House Minority Whip Eric Cantor’s office.

Brian Patrick, a communications staffer in Cantor’s office on Friday sent an e-mail to reporters saying that Cuellar “leans no” on a health care bill.

Patrick cited a quote by Cuellar in Investors Business Daily, where Cuellar, a Blue Dog moderate, said he did not want the health care bill to fund abortion, like Rep. Bart Stupak, Michigan Democrat.

Cuellar voted for the Stupak amendment to the original House bill last November, and is a pro-life Catholic.

But Cuellar’s office took umbrage at Patrick’s characterization. When I called to see if the congressman was in fact leaning toward voting against a health care bill, his press secretary, Ashley Patterson, sent me this statement.

“An unauthorized statement was made by a House minority staffer inaccurately asserting Congressman Cuellar’s position on health care reform. The statement is not warranted nor substantiated by any credible facts or consultation with Congressman Cuellar or his staff,” Patterson said. “Congressman Cuellar will review the final health care bill when it is released. Until then, he is undecided.”

Cantor’s office stood by their assertion.

“If Congressman Cuellar believes that Investors’ Business Daily misquoted him, he should call them and ask for a correction,” said Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring. “If Congressman Cuellar didn’t mean what he said, then he probably shouldn’t have said it.”