Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Breaking down the numbers in the House

I know it's not easy to keep track of who's willing to vote "yes" or "no" on Obamacare. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, and they're all politicians. That means they'll do or say anything today, and change their minds tomorrow. But a lot of people are concerned about this health insurance reform that the Democrats seem intent on ramming down the nation's collective throat. Geraghty the Indispensable works to break down the numbers as best as he can to assure people, right now, that Nancy Pelosi doesn't have the votes she desperately needs:

A lot of people are wondering, justifiably, about the count in the House. Jay Cost and Reid Wilson have made serious efforts, and I hear the NRCC will be upgrading a new site that spotlights those Democrat members who are wavering and who face the toughest reelection bids next year.

But in the end, any given lawmaker's statement of "I have problems with the Senate version" is not quite ironclad. After all, wavering votes will be offered the world and their brothers will be offered positions in the federal judiciary; when that fails, Rahm Emanuel will pop up in their showers like Norman Bates.

So here's what is absolutely certain: Of the 220 "yes" votes, three are gone from Congress with their seats currently empty (Wexler, Abercrombie, and Murtha) and one has said, definitively, he will flip to no (Cao).

That takes the 'yes' votes to 216.

Of the 215 previous "no" votes, Nathan Deal is sticking around, Eric Massa is gone (214), and Cao has been added to their ranks. This brings them back to 215.

In other words, right now Pelosi cannot permit anyone who voted "yes" to flip. If every "yes" vote stays on board, she can pass the bill.

Obviously, there are a lot of Democrats who voted "yes" in the fall who have indicated that they want to vote "no" or are considering voting no: Jerry McNerney, Steve Kagan, Henry Cuellar, Kathy Dahlkemper, Dan Lipinski, Marion Berry, Baron Hill, Brad Ellsworth, Dina Titus, Michael Arcuri, Dennis Cardoza, James Oberstar, Bart Stupak, Shelley Berkeley, Dan Maffei, Earl Pomeroy, Nick Rahall, John Spratt and Kurt Schrader. There are probably more, but that's a starting 19.

There are a very few "no" votes who are talking about flipping to "yes." Occasionally, you'll hear someone make vague noises about this, but I haven't seen anything definitive. Bart Gordon's a possibility, as is Brian Baird.

UPDATE: I can see the argument that Arcuri
sounds as definitive as Cao. So there may be 216 "no" votes.

The NRCC's
"Code Red" site puts it at No: 190 Yes: 192 Undecided: 49.

Liberal site
FireDogLake puts the count at No: 191 Yes: 193.

I need to remind readers of two things. First, forget about reconciliation. If this passes the House it's headed straight up the street to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for Barry's signature. Of course, that's provided the House doesn't amend the bill. If passed as is, the game is over. If they amend it, it has to go to the Senate for their approval. It technically becomes a new piece of legislation with those amendments and reconciliation won't help the Democrats then.

Second, the fight is solely in the House over this disastrous piece of legislation. Right now, Pelosi doesn't have the votes. In fact, as Jim Geraghty observes "Pelosi Can't Have Much More Than 197 Certain 'Yes' Votes." (Emphasis mine.) Both of the sites he links to at the end of his post confirm that she's lacking a significant number of votes. So what does this mean?

It means her and Steny Hoyer are going to begin whipping their caucus. (If they get a hand from the WH, it'll be from Rahm Emanuel, most likely, and I wouldn't be surprised if he shows up on Capitol Hill with a real whip.) Expect to hear stories of bribes coming out of the House, and expect to hear leaks of the strong-arming that will be going on behind the scenes. The Democrats know that they don't have much time to get this bloody monstrosity passed. For them, this isn't about helping Americans. It's all about their ego, and Barry's ego. They're looking for a legacy, nothing more. (Well, that and moving this nation into a socialized medical industry.)

She doesn't have the votes to pass this, and pressure needs to be maintained on House members. Keep calling and e-mailing them, but in addition to that start contributing to opponents. Democrats pay attention when they see they're not filling their campaign coffers, but the GOP is. They know that November is likely to be a political bloodbath. They can't wait much longer. Too much longer, and Pelosi won't have too many Democrats left to join her in this suicide pact. In the middle of a campaign no member of Congress is going to slit their own political throat by supporting this boondoggle.

If this dies in the House, expect Democrats to give up on this. They won't push the issue as the midterms draw closer, and they know damn well that after the midterms they won't have the votes to push the issue at all.

Publius II


OpenID Mike said...

One of your best pieces yet Thomas...excellent analysis. This is the Alamo for the healthcare bill. As you point out, if they don't pass it now it will be too late with the midterms coming. And next year the Dems will have many fewer seats in the House. So this truly is the end game on this stink burger.

What do you think the chances are the Dems will reverse the direction they're operating in and try to use reconciliation in the Senate to pass the House public option bill? Of course they don't have 60 votes (they may not even have 50). I don't see how they can do it myself, but then I didn't see how they could do it with the Senate bill and they managed to work out a reconcilation-based solution, excepting of course they don't have the votes to first pass the bill in the House.

March 10, 2010 at 11:52 AM  
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March 13, 2010 at 9:00 AM  

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