Quasi Live-Blog: Less Than 24 Hours To Go And They Still Don’t Have The Votes

by John Hawkins | March 20, 2010 7:38 pm

Just a quick update: despite what you may be hearing from Fox, which has strangely had a more optimistic count for Democrats than even liberal websites, Pelosi DOES NOT have the votes yet.

“They’re still short on votes. There’s still time and they still need votes.” — Rep. Dan Lipinksi (D-Ill.)

Lipinksi is right. The Stupak deal I mentioned this morning? It looks to have collapsed although I have no doubt that if Pelosi can peel off some of those votes with some kind of empty gesture, she will.

The whip count? Unsurprisingly, here at the end, they’re starting to converge. Here’s the liberal Firedoglake[1] count, which I think is probably pretty close to accurate:

The new count is 204 Yes, 205 No, with now 12 undecided and 10 assumed in the Stupak bloc.

Assuming there’s breakthrough with the Stupak block, here are the votes they say will decide health care:

Baird, Brian: D+0
Davis, Lincoln: R+14
Matheson, Jim: R+15
Nye, Glenn: R+6
Tanner, John: R+6
Foster, Bill: R+1
Kanjorski, Paul: D+4
Michaud, Mike: D+5
Ortiz, Solomon: R+2
Pomeroy, Earl: R+10
Space, Zack: R+7
Schrader, Kurt: D+1

They may have some info about Michaud that other people don’t have because I keep seeing him listed as a yes otherwise. On the other hand, they don’t list Mike Quigley D+18, who is threatening to go no over abortion. Could that be for show? Sure. We’ll see soon enough.

If you absolutely had to bet at this point, you’d probably have to give the edge to Pelosi. She knows exactly how many votes she has to get and she can negotiate with particular members to try to come up with things that will placate them. On the other hand, unless she peels off some Stupak voters, she’s going to have to pick up a lot of votes from VERY Republican districts to pull this off. That is not going to be easy.

In 24 hours, either this thing will pass, it won’t, or Pelosi will have to hold off the vote to keep negotiating. We’ll see soon enough.

Update #1 (5:48 PM EST): Zack Space just came out as a “no.” The Firedoglake count has him at undecided, so by their count, we just hit 216 no votes for the very first time. Will it stick? Who knows, but getting over the threshold is important.

Update #2 (6:30 PM EST): Another key vote, Jim Matheson is now at “no.” We have some nomentum going!

Update #3 (7:38 PM EST): Pelosi needs 216 votes to get Obamacare passed. Here are the whip counts floating around out there.

Current Firedoglake Whip Count[2]: 204 yes, 206 no, leaning no 10, undecided 10.

Current Hill Whip Count[3]: 215 oppose, 197 yes, 20 undecided

The NRCC’s Code Red whip count[4] has it knotted at 211 yes vs. 211 no with 9 undecided.

The last Fox News whip count I saw had it at 218-213, but I believe that was before Matheson and Space went no. Ace of Spades HQ[5] also has a whip count, but it hasn’t been updated since the Matheson and Space announcements. If I am reading it right, it has 216 no votes with the addition of those two.

Long story short, it’s VERY close, but that the moment, Pelosi doesn’t have the votes and a number of the undecided voters are from Republican districts. Bottom line, the no side has an advantage right now, but it’s still extremely tight.

Update #4 (8:02 PM EST): “Last I heard they were short four.” — Bart Stupak[6]

Update #5 (8:19 PM EST): Here’s the vote schedule for tomorrow[7]:

2 p.m.: The House will debate for one hour the rules of debate for the reconciliation bill and the Senate bill.

3 p.m.: The House will vote to end debate and vote on the rules of the debate.

3:15 p.m.: The House will debate the reconciliation package for two hours.

5:15 p.m.: The House will vote on the reconciliation package.

5:30 p.m.: The House will debate for 15 minutes on a Republican substitute and then vote on the substitute.

6 p.m.: The House will vote on the final reconciliation package.

6:15 p.m.: If the reconciliation bill passes, the House will immediately vote on the Senate bill, without debate.

Update #6: (9:57 PM EST) One of the undecideds, Kurt Schrader (D-OR), just went to yes. That’s not a big shocker and doesn’t really change the calculus. He voted yes last time and is in a D+1 district.

Update #7: (10:01 PM EST) Michael Capuano is also a yes. There was an outside chance he’d go no, but he’s from a liberal district and voted yes last time. Again, it’s another one Pelosi needed, but it doesn’t really change things very much.

Update #8: (10:01 PM EST) A big no just came in. Bill Nye is a firm “no” on the bill. That’s a vote Pelosi really wanted to get and it’s also the third really big “no” vote today. Nomentum!!!

Update #9 (10:17 PM EST): Obama is working on cutting a deal for an executive order to get the Stupak block on board[8]:

House Democrats are working with the White House to craft an executive order that would clarify President Obama’s intention to maintain a long-standing ban on federal funding of abortion, congressional Democrats said.

“The intent is obviously to express what we said all along: that we believe the language that has been included in both bills seeks to accomplish . . . that there will be no use of public funds for abortion,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said upon emerging from the meeting. Asked whether the document could win over a significant number of the holdouts, Hoyer said: “I’m hopeful.”

If Obama is discussing this, it’s yet another indication that they are really desperate for votes. Of course, an executive can’t fix the abortion problems with the bill[9] in the bill. It just doesn’t work that way.

It should be noted that all of the problems listed in the NRLC letter — with the possible exception of no. 5 (pro-abortion administrative mandates) — would be created by and controlled by the proposed statutory language of H.R. 3590. If the bill is signed into law, these statutory requirements and defects are not subject to correction or nullification by the chief executive or his appointees, whether by Executive Order, regulation, or otherwise. Lawmakers will be responsible for the law that they vote for, and cannot hide behind hollow assurances from the President.

Anyone who signed on because of this would just be engaging in a face saving maneuver and honestly, they’ve had plenty of other opportunities to do that — of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t still work. It could also be yet another attempt by Stupak and company to make it clear that they’re bending over backwards to find a way to pass this thing in an effort to reduce the anger at them from liberal interest groups. Will they trade in the lives of millions of children for an empty gesture? We’ll find out soon enough.

Update #10 (10:42 PM EST): Thought: If, as Obama & Dem leadership says, #hcr is so popular, why weren’t there legions of pro-Obamacare protesters today on the Hill today?

Update #11 (11:31 PM EST): Now this is excellent news for Obamacare opponents[10]:

As their whip efforts narrow to just a handful of Members, House Democratic leaders are facing an unlikely problem vote: Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.).

Sanchez was nowhere to be found on Saturday – she was in Florida on a fundraising jaunt, two Democratic sources said – and while leaders expected her to return for the Sunday vote on final passage, they weren’t assured. What’s more, leaders now list the Orange County Democrat as a “no” vote.

Sanchez’s office did not return a request for comment Saturday evening. She cast her last vote shortly after 6 p.m. Friday and missed all seven recorded votes on Saturday, a review of the record shows.

Update #12: (11:45 PM EST): Here’s one big difference between Obamacare & Medicare/Social Security[11]:

But there is a major difference between this health-care battle and the debates that preceded passage of Social Security and Medicare. Although there was opposition to those measures — conservative opponents called Medicare socialized medicine — in the end they passed with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities.

The House approved the Medicare bill on a vote of 313 to 115, including 65 Republicans — nearly half the GOP caucus at the time. The Senate approved the measure by 68 to 21, including 13 of the 27 Republicans.

Social Security passed the House in 1935 by 372 to 77. On that vote, 77 Republicans joined the majority and 18 Republicans opposed it. In the Senate, the vote was 77 to 6, with five of 19 Republicans in opposition.

In other words, not only is the way the Democrats are trying to push this bill through Congress a huge departure from more than 200 years of tradition, trying to push a program like this through with no support from the other party is dangerous historic first as well.

Update #13: (12:14 PM EST): This is my last post on this thread for the night, but tune back in tomorrow for the latest updates.

PS: At the moment, the no votes are ahead and it’s starting to like the Democrats may have a tough time getting there unless they peel off some of the Stupak block, but looks can be deceiving. Long story short, at the moment, it’s too close to call.

  1. Firedoglake: http://news.firedoglake.com/2010/03/20/carney-to-vote-yes/
  2. Current Firedoglake Whip Count: http://news.firedoglake.com/2010/03/20/zack-space-a-no-complicates-count-for-democrats/
  3. Current Hill Whip Count: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/85693-whip-watch-the-hills-survey-of-house-dems-positions-on-healthcare-
  4. NRCC’s Code Red whip count: http://www.nrcc.org/CodeRed/main.php
  5. Ace of Spades HQ: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/299618.php
  6. Bart Stupak: http://www.lifenews.com/nat6156.html
  7. vote schedule for tomorrow: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/299631.php
  8. executive order to get the Stupak block on board: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/20/AR2010032001941.html
  9. executive can’t fix the abortion problems with the bill: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/nrlc-exec-order-cant-fix-abortion-problems-hcr-bill
  10. excellent news for Obamacare opponents: http://www.rollcall.com/news/44440-1.html
  11. big difference between Obamacare & Medicare/Social Security: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/20/AR2010032003349_pf.html

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