Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine broke ranks seven times with his fellow Republicans on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, voting for Democratic amendments to a bill on small-business health insurance.
The other 10 Republicans on the committee opposed the amendments, which failed on 10-10 votes. DeWine voted against 10 other amendments that failed 11-9, on party lines.
The seven Democratic amendments DeWine voted for were on issues affecting women's health, infant health, clinical trials, autism and disease prevention. They were offered by Sens. Tom HarkinTom HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? MORE (Iowa), Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayReid defends relationship with McConnell in farewell speech Top Dem signals likely opposition to Sessions nomination Overnight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape MORE (Wash.) and Chris Dodd (Conn.).
"We weren't supersurprised because Senator Harkin and Senator DeWine have a history of working together on [disease] prevention," Harkin spokeswoman Allison Dobson said.
However, a Democratic Senate aide said Ohio chapters of national healthcare advocacy groups pressured DeWine, who faces a tough election race against Rep. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownWeek ahead in defense: Anticipation builds for State pick; Pentagon chief's last trip abroad Manchin urging colleagues to block funding bill as shutdown looms Democrats tamp down talk of shutdown MORE (D-Ohio). DeWine's office did not return calls.
The committee approved the GOP bill 11-9 on a party-line vote.