Monday, March 15, 2010

If they had the votes, the bill would be on Obama's desk

House Democrat leaders have been all over the lamestream news claiming they have or are very close to having the votes they need to pass ObamaCare. I guess I'm just a cynic, but something tells me that Nancy Pelosi is putting her shiniest, most positive spin on these numbers. She insists that she's close to having the votes to pass the bill in the House. The number that keeps getting thrown around is that she's about four votes shy. I think she's about four bricks short of a load, but that's just me.

A different assessment of the votes was presented Monday night on Fox News' Greta Van Susteren's show by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who said, "I'd be surprised if they have 200 votes." He says the dozen members of his anti-abortion coalition "aren't really wavering." He also told Van Susteren that abortion isn't the only problem they have with the ObamaCare push.

Stupak: "We're still not planning on voting for health care unless we can address some concerns. As I said before, there are many concerns with this bill, especially with the House--without vote, we sort of pass the Senate bill without any amendments. It goes to the president, he signs it, and then we have to do reconciliation. What if reconciliation does not get through? I mean, I'm sure we can pass it in the House, but what about the Senate?" Stupak says there are "over 250-some pieces of legislation sitting in the Senate, waiting for them to pass it." So what's to say the Senate will act on a reconciliation bill?

The magic number for passage is 216. Stupak admits that his tally is a "guesstimate." He said that he and other anti-abortion rights Democrats who voted "yes" on the House bill last year are now vowing to vote no unless the abortion language is changed in the final measure. Others have said that Pelosi and House leaders have given up on Stupak and the anti-abortion group's votes, knowing that if they were to change the bill's abortion language, they would anger Democrats who are pro-abortion.

The vote for the original health crap bill, passed in the House in November, was 220-215. In an article written by James Rosen at McClatchy, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said, "I need 216 votes to pass this bill. I think I'm going to get 216 votes. It could be closer than last time. All I want is 216 votes." In contrast, a month after Obama took office in January of last year, the House was able to pass the economic "stimulus" bill with a 246-183 vote.

Obama wants the vote finished by Thursday so that he can get out of town on another world-wide apology tour. However, Clyburn expressed doubts that the House would hold the vote by Thursday. "The chances are good, but I wouldn't bet on it," he said. Doh!

Update. Obama was scheduled to leave on Thursday, March 18 for a weeklong trip that includes a return to Jakarta, his home from ages 6-10. Michelle Obama and their two daughters were to accompany him on the trip. Evidently ObamaTeam realized that it would not be a smooth move for Obama to be seen vacationing out of the country when the House is trying to pass ObamaCare. Consequently, the trip was delayed for three days and the family will remain at home. Robot Gibbs says that no further delays in the trip are expected to be necessary.

Update #2. Politico is reporting that the House leadership is working even the hard no's. Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), a key swing vote, says he thinks the leadership is "seriously struggling to marshal the votes." Said Altmire, "They're calling the hardnosed people . . . who have put out firm statements saying no. They wouldn't be doing that if they were anywhere near close."

Update #3. Tick-tock.

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