Alabama A U.S. House Democrat who opposes the health care overhaul announced Tuesday he is defecting to the GOP, another blow to Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.
U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith spoke to reporters at his home in northern Alabama, a region that relies heavily on defense and aerospace jobs.
“I believe our nation is at a crossroads and I can no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy, and drives us further and further into debt,” Griffith said as his wife, Virginia, stood by his side.
The 67-year-old radiation oncologist was narrowly elected last year in a district that includes Huntsville and Decatur. President Barack Obama lost badly there to Republican John McCain.
Griffith also slammed the health care overhaul making its way through Congress. He was one of 39 House Democrats to vote against a version of the bill that narrowly passed.
“I want to make it perfectly clear that this bill is bad for our doctors,” he said. “It’s bad for our patients. It’s bad for the young men and women who are considering going into the health care field.”