…as Obamacare probably met the Grim Reaper at about the same time the Pennsylvania Democrat did.
With Murtha alive and kicking, Nancy Pelosi was able to cram Obamacare through the House of Representatives with 220 votes last year. But Robert Wexler retired and Joseph Cao has since said he would not vote for final passage on anything that looks like the Senate health care bill (kudos to Cao, whose vote on the original House bill was a colossal stain on Louisiana’s congressional delegation only eclipsed by Mary Landrieu’s Louisiana Purchase antics).
That left Pelosi with 218 votes, the barest of margins. Murtha’s death, as the American Spectator’s Philip Klein notes, drops her total down to 217. There were 215 votes against the House bill when it passed in November, so if Cao flips it would still win the day 217-216 if nothing else changed.
But of course the House bill won’t be voted on again. What will be voted on, assuming the foolish notion of continuing with this fiasco wins the day, is something that looks a lot more like the Senate bill which Bart Stupak and his pro-life Democrat group won’t go for. And since Pelosi has no more votes to burn, they’re at a dead end on health care.
It is because of this reality that the President now wants a televised confab with congressional Republicans, who have an enormous amount of leverage after a year in the wilderness. The noises being made by the GOP leadership, namely that they insist on Obama throwing out the two bills the Democrats dragged through the two houses last year, are the right ones. The Republicans owe the president nothing, they owe the Democrats nothing and they owe the American people a bit of principled opposition to a health care program which is disapproved of by a 2-to-1 margin.
There might well be reforms to the health care system which could pass on a bipartisan basis, but those reforms will likely be very minor and originate mostly from Republican proposals – all of the major Democrat initiatives on health care involve increasing the size of government and further intruding into the marketplace, and the American people simply don’t want to move in that direction.
But if Obama refuses to come to the middle on this issue and insists on continuing to lecture his political opponents and the American people alike, the GOP needs to have the sand to deal him and his congressional minions a devastating defeat.