Thursday, November 05, 2009

While we wait for updates on the noon rally . . .
WSJ Reports House Leaders Don't Have 218 Votes

I thought the House vote was in the bag and it was the Senate that was having problems corralling their people. But according to the Wall Street Journal, as of Wednesday, House leaders haven't secured the 218 Democrat votes they need to pass the health care bill. No Republicans are expected to vote for the bill.

House leaders spent Wednesday scrambling to secure votes from freshmen and lawmakers in swing districts. "This is not a popular thing in many parts of the country," said Rep. Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.).

The WSJ reports that the 52-member fiscally conservative Blue Dog coalition* of Democrats is divided over whether to vote for the bill, in part out of concern that it could increase the federal budget deficit over the long term. I'm trying to imagine what Tuesday's vote did to "help" the Blue Dogs figure out which way to jump on the health crap bill issue.

Another group of 40 members seem to be withholding their support for the bill, led by Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat, who says he will withhold his support for the bill until Democrats place stricter regulations on how the new public health-insurance plan would pay for abortions.

Groups like the Blue Dogs and Stupak's pro-life group seem to leave Pelosi in the position of having to strongarm the 39 members of the House freshman class in order to find more votes. "Strongarm" freshmen House members for a vote on Obama's premier issue? Wow. Clearly the leaders of the House plan to ram this thing through, regardless of how the American people feel about it. It's not so much that they're not listening, as they are not representing--they're going their own way on this "for the good of the American people" regardless of how the people back home feel. On that I call bullshit--the bill is a power grab, straight up.

Rep Joe "You Lie" Wilson (R, South Carolina) proposed an amendment Wednesday that would force all members of Congress to receive health insurance coverage through the government-run plan proposed in the House's reform bill. They could probably sell tickets to a debate on that amendment.

"If the public option is good enough for the American people, then it's certainly good enough for Congress," Wilson said. "If this government-run plan is so good, why don't members of Congress take the plan?" Good question, Joe.
House Democrats have published their final "adjustments" to the 1,900-page health care bill, starting a 72-hour clock before the bill comes to the floor. Evidently a vote is planned for Saturday, but obviously if they still don't have the number they need to pass this monstrosity, then the vote will be postponed. I'm guessing that by Saturday they will have the votes and the bill will pass in the House. I'd sure like to be wrong. Of course whether or not the bill will pass in the Senate is another issue entirely.

*With the insanity of 2,000-page bills that will fundamentally change this country, plus the plunging poll numbers for Obama, plus last Tuesday's elections where a bluer-than-blue state threw out their incumbent Democrat governor--with all of that and more, is there any longer such a concept as a "safe" Democrat?

This is Jim Costa, a California "moderate" House Democrat: “I think we’re all vulnerable next year,” said Costa, who won with nearly three-quarters of the vote last year in a district that President Barack Obama carried with 60 percent.

The article at Politico continues: There are those like Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright, a conservative freshman Democrat from a Republican-tilting district in southeastern Alabama, who are so dead set against the bill that last-minute calls would be a waste of energy for party leaders. No one expects lawmakers like Bright — who won despite Obama getting just 37 percent of the vote in his district — to risk a “yes” vote.

So is Bobby Bright one of the freshman who Nanzi Pelosi is hoping to strongarm?

The whip count, which hasn’t changed much since the latest version of the bill was unveiled last Thursday, even reveals that a small number of liberals — perhaps fewer than a half-dozen — are disappointed enough in the exclusion of a “robust” public option that they aren’t inclined to vote for the bill. “I have yet to commit to voting for this bill,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).

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