LOS ANGELES (JTA) — A Jewish lawmaker and key mover in the passage of the health care reform bill said it was appropriate the measure passed in the House of Representatives a week before Passover.
"The meaning of the seder is that no one should be left behind," Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said in a call from Washington.
"It means that everyone should have a seat at the table, that everyone should partake in the afikomen of freedom. On the secular level, that is what the health care bill means to millions of Americans."
Waxman has fought for such legislation since he entered Congress 36 years ago and now, as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he was one of three committee chairs responsible for shaping and moving the bill.
Following Sunday’s 16-hour session on the House floor, Waxman celebrated the following day by not reporting to work until noon.
Waxman said he was struck by the bitterness and hostility shown by the bill’s opponents, both on the House floor and among protesters outside.
As he neared the Capitol building, some people shouted "traitor" and "baby killer" at Waxman.