Update 3-21, 7:10 PM (from MacAoidh): Now the Attack of the Attorneys General is being prepared: Texas AG Greg Abbott sends this out via Facebook:
I am organizing a conference call tonight for AGs across the country. We will discuss our litigation strategy about the healthcare bill. I will update you on facebook after the conference call.
So far as we can tell, and readers are welcome to educate us otherwise if you’ve got further information, Texas doesn’t have a bill in the works to fight Obamacare specifically – so the basis of the Lone Star State’s challenge might be a little different than the other 37 or so states. We’ll see what Abbott comes back with.
Update 3-21, 6:55 PM (from MacAoidh): We’re down to House Republicans’ Last Stand At The Alamo, and as last stands go this one isn’t bad. It’s a Motion To Recommit, and it dredges the Stupak clan back into play – possibly.
Democrats are worried about holding their members together on a GOP motion that could kill the healthcare bill.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said House leaders are specifically concerned about a Republican motion to recommit that would contain only language on abortion that Stupak originally had wanted to include in the Senate bill.
The concern is based on the fear of GOP attack ads painting Democrats who vote against a motion to recommit that includes Stupak’s favored language on abortion as “flip-floppers” on the issue.
Sixty-eight Democrats voted for Stupak’s language in a November vote. They could be portrayed as flipping if they now voted against it.
“They are concerned about it,” Stupak said after his Sunday press conference.
The effect of this, if it passes, would be to kill the thing. Passing it would put the pro-abortion Democrats in position to have to vote for a House bill with Stupak language in it, and they won’t go for it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi likely won’t even reintroduce it, particularly since a Stupak-laden House Bill going back to the Senate probably won’t get it done.
The question is whether the Republicans would put anything else in the bill. As blogger Drew M. at Ace of Spades notes, there’s no point in them doing that – Republican amendments make it a loser. But if it’s just Stupak, it’s actually possible given the numbers that 216 votes can be found for it.
Worth a shot.
Update 3-21, 5:20 PM (from MacAoidh): Now comes another card being played by the Republicans – they say the Reconciliation bill violates the 1974 Congressional Budget Act, Section 310(g) of which, they say, would make it out of order for the Senate to take up a bill which deals with dispensing of Social Security savings (the Reconciliation Bill says $29 billion in increased revenues for Social Security are coming) outside of Social Security. The GOP is asking for a meeting with the Senate Democrats and the Parliamentarian in an attempt to deal with the controversy, and nobody will take the meeting at present.
Update 3-21, 4:45 PM (from MacAoidh): This one’s going to be interesting: Stupak has an intriguing Republican challenger in Dan Benishek, who is a doctor and a conservative. Check out his facebook page, which apparently has picked up some pretty massive momentum in the last couple of hours. Benishek doesn’t have a website up yet; he only announced his candidacy this week.
Update 3-21, 3:10 PM (from MacAoidh): Stupak and his group have officially flipped, and he just confirmed that he’s flipping for the Executive Order deal. So Pelosi and Obama win this round. The executive order will be signed AFTER the vote, which means his head is squarely in the lion’s mouth.
The White House and anti-abortion Democrats have reached an agreement to defusethe controversy over abortion in the health reform bill – planning a series of steps that will secure the support of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and other Democrats to give party leaders the votes they need to pass reform, sources tell POLITICO.
Under the agreement, President Barack Obama would sign an executive order ensuring that no federal funding will go to pay for abortion under the health reform plans. In addition, Stupak will get to state his concerns about abortion funding in the bill during a colloquy on the House floor during the debate.
And then, Stupak and several other Democratic hold-outs over abortion will sign on to the bill, the sources said…
Rep. Alan Mollohan, who is one of the votes in question, told POLITICO that the language in the agreement has already been essentially cleared. Mollohan said it is only a matter of time for “the follow-through steps” to be implemented.
…and then offers his own take, which we think has a lot of validity:
So he caved for a wafer-thin executive order and a little floor time to praise life? Geez. Cheap date, Bart.
Update 3-21, 2:00 PM: Stupak just told repoters that there is still no deal and the negotiations are sometimes like “one step forward, two steps back.” Since he still has nine members (though some could certainly still cave at the last minute), The White House must make the deal if Obamacare is to pass. Even if Pelosi were to get the other five undecided votes, the Stupak nine would defeat the bill by three votes. Even though I, sadly, still fully expect the deal to get done and for Obamacare to pass, I’m pleased that the pro-life movement is holding this bill hostage and extracting major concessions from President Obama. A week ago, who would have thought that the drama over this vote would end with President Obama issuing a detailed executive order prohibiting public funds from being used to pay for abortions?
Update 3-21, 1:50 PM: Don’t have time to link, but Foster and Baird are now yes votes and Lincoln Davis is a no. Since he now makes 209 confirmed no votes, Pelosi can’t get to 216 without finalizing the details on Stupak, so they will have to do that.
Update 3-21, 1:35 PM: Oh, what the heck … I guess I can do one last update. Tanner is a NO. Just for the sake of counting, that puts the solid NO count at 208. And for what it’s worth, Stupak has told CNN that he and the White House lawyers are still working out the last few final details and he isn’t officially a YES vote yet, but that he expects to be very soon. In case you missed it earlier, Kaptur caved and broke off of the Stupak group — she just couldn’t wait to say that she was for Obamacare. As I noted earlier in the week, Tom Delay had predicted that, saying that she’s just too liberal to possibly vote NO.
Update 3-21, 12:38 PM: Those of you who have followed this post for the last several days know that I was once extraordinarily confident that the vote on Obamacare would fail in the House. I was obviously very, very wrong. If any of you bet against Obamacare on Intrade after reading here, then I am extremely sorry — you’ll know better than to believe me next time. I’ll write a separate post this evening explaining why I was wrong, for those who are interested (and link to it from here). Curious as I am to see exactly how everyone votes, I won’t be able to watch today’s proceedings, as I have to work. As some of you may know, I own and run the Mathnasium learning center in Baton Rouge, and we’re always extremely busy the week after report cards go home. Thanks for reading this past week.
Update 3-21, 12:13 PM: According to MSNBC, Stupak has agreed to a deal and will vote yes. That’s all she wrote, folks. Obamacare will pass.
Update 3-21, 10:10 AM (from MacAoidh): I’m working on a piece for the front page (I’ll post a link here when it’s done) which discusses reasons why the assumption of inevitability that Obamacare once enacted will continue to grow is false. As said many times elsewhere, this would be the first social legislation of major scale to be enacted without bipartisan support, and it’s also the first time the majority which would enact such legislation would be likely to be turned out of office immediately thereafter. There are other reasons why this one is different, and I’ll get into those, plus expand on the above, in the piece I’m working on for later today.
A few developments to report: first, TheHill.com reports that Bart Stupak is still negotiating with the White House on an executive order which would purportedly ban federal funding of abortions; this one will go down to the wire, but if Stupak ends up playing ball, moving his group into the “yes” column and dragging Obamacare over the finish line only to find himself double-crossed by the President and the House leadership – which is likely if not certain to happen – it could be the end of pro-life Democrats in American politics.
Second, former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin writes in the New York Times this morning that the real, accurate budget effect of Obamacare isn’t $1.3 trillion in deficit reduction, as Obama claims, or $138 billion as the current CBO score would indicate, or $58 billion in red ink, as Paul Ryan says is the case once the “doctor fix” is put in place, but $562 billion.
And third, the latest count among the cable-news networks has Obamacare with 216 House supporters – maybe. Fox News counts it at 216-215, though their numbers have been shaky from the get-go, and CNN says it’s razor-thin. Rep. John Larson, D-CT, who is the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is bragging that they have the votes. But Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the House Deputy Whip, admitted to Fox News that it’s not a “hard 216.”
Update 3-21, 8:20 AM: Politico has some guesses on how the final undecideds will break. If they are right, then Kaptur, Berry, and Mollohan are the ones peeling off the Stupak group. They think Pelosi can convince Pomeroy to end his politcal career in North Dakota, and that she will get Tanner and Baird to vote yes. Those assumptions are not unreasonable. But they appear to already be counting Rahall’s vote in their starting at 210 for Pelosi, which is puzzling, as he is also part of the Stupak group and has firmly pledged to vote no absent a deal on abortion. So, the deal narrows the Stupak group to six and Pelosi gets Pomeroy and she wins.
Update 3-21, 7:43 AM: There isn’t any news yet this morning, except I saw more confirmation from last night that some unnamed members of Stupak’s group were agreeing to a deal on an executive order. There’s certainly still hope that the deal could fall through, but, at this point, I finally have to shed my optimism. I can write that Pelosi still didn’t have the votes last night, and I can write that I still expect to get Pomeroy, Davis, and Boucher, and that those plus six Stupak members would be the 216 we need to defeat the bill, but the reality is that the bill won’t lose by one vote. Pelosi will simply hold the machines open and convince someone to “take one for the team” and switch his vote. The reality is that, unless Stupak fights back and manages to keep eight or nine members of his group together (or we catch a couple of breaks like with Sanchez), that Pelosi will be able to flip votes on the floor and win.
The likelihood of Pelosi flipping a vote or two during the vote if necessary is why Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss) is basically advising members to vote no and run for your life.
Update 3-20, 11:00 PM: This is it for tonight. From tomorrow’s Washington Post:
House leaders were working to secure their votes late Saturday with the promise of an executive order affirming President Obama‘s commitment to a longstanding ban on public abortion funding except in cases of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a key antiabortion vote, said she thought the document would be insufficient to bring the entire group of about 10 antiabortion Democrats onboard.
Of course, he doesn’t need all of them.
Update 3-20, 10:50 PM: Jane Hamsher makes a good argument for counting Sanchez as a NO. I’m not going to count her that way, since she hasn’t said that she will vote no. Since the article in Roll Call said that House leadership weren’t assured that she would return to DC for the vote (!), I should mention that an absence is as good as a NO vote. If the vote is 215-215, it fails.
Update 3-20, 9:30 PM: And Nye is a NO! We needed that one.
Update 3-20, 9:25 PM: While I was typing the post below, Schrader announced that he will vote yes.
Update 3-20, 8:40 PM: Since we’re unlikely to get more news tonight, I thought I would run down the numbers and possibilities. Republicans have 206 publicly committed votes. We need 216 to defeat the bill. There were ten members of the Stupak group:
Obviously, if all of those held, that would be enough to defeat the bill, but the cryptic comment of Stupak that he had lost votes and “at least six” will stand opposed is still puzzling. There are also still five uncommitted members who voted NO in November:
- L. Davis
Pelosi likely has Baird and Tanner in her back pocket, especially Baird. Davis’ situation I detailed below, Boucher represents an overwhelmingly Republican district and said last week that he would vote against the bill if it had big cuts to Medicare (and it does), and Nye represents a Republican district and faces a strong challenge to re-election. I think that the three of them are likely to vote NO.
Finally, we have the non-Stupak ones who voted YES in November but that we would like to flip our way:
- L. Sanchez
- Ron Klein
Sanchez is a new addition to my list. She’s been a presumed YES vote, but it turns out that she didn’t want to vote yes last time and was actually the final Dem to vote in favor. She said this week that “the Senate bill is a bad bill,” and she is facing a serious challenge this fall. She spent today in Florida (yes, you read that correctly) — thus avoiding getting buttonholed by the House leadership, who now reportedly list her as a NO. I also see Schrader, Ortiz, Klein, and Kanjorski as possible votes our way — they all have good reason to vote NO. And Pomeroy is a likely NO vote in my book.
So, I still see Nye, Boucher, Davis, and Pomeroy as likely for us. I also see another six as good possibilities. If we do get four votes from this group, then six from Stupak still wins it for us. And Pelosi still has a lot of other publicly uncommitted members, and we could still get one of those unexpectly, like we did with Lynch.
Update 3-20, 8:00 PM: Since Stupak won’t be part of the deliberations, I feel secure in my belief that this is an attempt to peel votes off Stupak, not to actually make a deal with him. One thing that isn’t being discussed elsewhere is whether members of the Stupak group want there to be a deal. I think that Stupak genuinely wanted to get his amendment passed and vote yes for Obamacare, but seven of the nine other members of his group represent districts where a NO vote (for any reason) would be popular and politically expedient. Supporting Stupak was a great way to keep the pressure off.
Update 3-20, 7:50 PM: Don’t be fooled by all the media spin.
Senior Dem staffer says abortion/executive order deliberations will take place tonight at the White House.
Stupak won’t be there… Dem staffer says “this still isn’t nailed down”
Update 3-20, 7:40 PM: Zack Space wasn’t “released” to vote NO by Pelosi; he had been leaning NO for days. That’s good news and confirms that Pelosi likely still doesn’t have the votes locked up.
Update 3-20, 7:35 PM: Rep. Capuano is a liberal who has finally decided to vote yes. Since I always had him that way, that doesn’t change my count.
Update 3-20, 7:30 PM: The Minority Leader’s office is distributing the following comments about an Executive Order “deal”:
US Conference of Catholic Bishops: “No regulation, policy letter from HRSA, or other executive action can withstand a statutory mandate, construed by federal courts applying a constitutional decision on abortion.”
National Right to Life Committee: “If the [Senate] 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.”
Americans United for Life: “The proposal to address the problem of abortion funding in the health care bill through use of an Executive Order is a tacit acknowledgement that the bill as it stands is pro-abortion legislation … [I]t also does not succeed in application. An Executive Order cannot prevent insurance companies that pay for abortions from participating in the exchanges. Further, Executive Orders can be undone or modified as quickly as they are created. This is a blatant attempt to subvert democracy and should be quickly quashed.”
Family Research Council warns against the promise of: “an Executive Order (EO) that would magically fix the fact that the Senate bill (H.R. 3590) would spend government funds to pay for elective abortions. Further, the Reconciliation bill will make matters worse by increasing funding for community health centers, which will bypass any abortion funding restrictions in appropriations bills because it is directly appropriated. Both taken together will fund abortion, regardless of any EO.”
Update 3-20, 6:45 PM: Supposedly, Rep. Diana DeGette, the leader of the pro-choice caucus in the House, has signed off on the proposed Executive Order. If she’s OK with it, then Stupak probably isn’t, meaning that its design is to peel a few of his group off. At this point, we have 206 NO votes that are absolutely rock solid. Of the eleven non-Stupak undecided members, I think we get Nye, Boucher, Pomeroy, and Davis. If we could do that, we would still win with six votes from the Stupak group. Though I am no longer confidently predicting the defeat of the bill, it isn’t over by a long shot.
Update 3-20, 6:28 PM: One of the more curious situations is that of Rep. Lincoln Davis of Tennessee. He voted NO last time and represents a district that is 14 points more Republican than the country as a whole. He’s not “undecided;” he has simply refused to give anyone any public indication of how he intends to vote. Is he refusing to say anything because he’s pledged his vote to Pelosi and he doesn’t want to have to hear it from his constituents, or is he refusing because he doesn’t want union sit-ins staged in his office like the one that Rep. Altmire got after announcing that he would vote no? Because he voted no last time and because of the strong GOP tilt to his district, I would have to bet on the latter, but we’ll see.
Update 3-20, 6:17 PM: Will Pomeroy flip our way? North Dakota has a small population, so Rep. Earl Pomeroy represents the entire state. Now, North Dakota is about ten points more Republican than the country as a whole. A few hours ago, the North Dakota GOP Convention selected State Rep. Rick Berg, the former majority leader of the state house, to run against Pomeroy. A Rasmussen poll last month showed Berg beating Pomeroy 46% to 40%, which was apparently a key factor in today’s decision by the Convention. If Pomeroy votes yes, he is headed for certain defeat. As of a couple hours ago, Pomeroy was still telling reporters that he was “undecided.”
Update 3-20, 6:00 PM: I love this photo. It’s Louisiana’s own Steve Scalise, handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on the Capitol steps.
Update 3-20, 5:55 PM: One more thing to remember about the Stupak group: of the ten that I have left in the group, only Lipinski and Kaptur are in solidly Democratic districts. Stupak, Berry, Mollohan, Donnelly, Dahlkemper, and Rahall all represent districts that lean Republican, and Driehaus’ and Costello’s districts lean Dem by 3 points or less. That means that, except for Lipinski and Kaptur, it’s in their political best interest to vote against Obamacare regardless of its disposition of the abortion issue.
Update 3-20, 5:40 PM: Those two no votes mean that Stupak could defeat the bill with seven, assuming that we don’t get any more. But I still can’t see Glenn Nye switching his vote to yes. If Nye votes no, then a Stupak group of six would be enough. On the other hand, if the President can craft an Executive Order that will satisfy Stupak, it’s all over — always has been.
Update 3-20, 5:36 PM: Jim Matheson is a NO. Giving his brother a nomination to the federal judiciary apparently did not sway his vote.
Update 3-20, 5:08 PM: Zack Space is a NO. The question is, did Pelosi just give him permission to vote no because she’s split the Stupak group and got enough votes? Space is the third confirmed yes-to-no flip outside of the Stupak group.
Update 3-20, 5:00 PM: If you want to know a little more about the members believed in play, this article is a good place to start. Note that, since the article was written, Carney and DeFazio have now committed for the bill.
Update 3-20, 4:55 PM: I’m still confused. I just re-read the article from The Hill that said that Stupak was down to six, and it still had Stupak speculating about a “possible” executive order and what would be in it, so that couldn’t explain how his eleven suddenly went down to “at least six.” We’ll find out eventually.
Update 3-20, 4:43 PM: That’s why the deal was always that Stupak and Stupak alone would negotiate and decide for the group. Something that splits the group is very bad — not just for Obamacare, but also for the pro-life movement. Pro-lifers needed this group of Democrats to stand together.
Update 3-20, 4:33 PM: OK, this explains it: President Obama is issuing an Executive Order that will prohibit federal money from being used for abortions under this bill. What is likely happening is that the President has come up with something that’s enough to satisfy some members of the Stupak group and get the bill over the line.
Update 3-20, 4:20 PM: Something’s fishy. Stupak didn’t suddenly go from eleven members down to six. I think that quote was taken out of context somehow. As Firedoglake notes, the six mentioned in this article do not include Lipinski, Donnelly, or Costello, some of the most outspoken members of the group. If some are flipping, it would be Rahall, Kaptur, or Dahlkemper — and yet they are mentioned in the article as still being with Stupak.
Update 3-20, 4:10 PM: If Stupak only has six, that means we would have to win more of the undecided members than Pelosi. That won’t happen. On the other hand, Eric Cantor tells NRO: “We’re still fighting and it’s still very fluid.”
Update 3-20, 4:00 PM: Stupak now says that his numbers are down to about six. If that is indeed the case, then Obamacare will pass.
Update 3-20, 3:30 PM: Apparently, Rep. Boucher is not a firm “no.” That means we don’t yet have the votes to defeat the bill.
Update 3-20, 3:00 PM: Carney will vote yes. One down for Pelosi, twelve to go.
Update 3-20, 2:35 PM: The list below is of the thirteen remaining truly undecided members. Pelosi needs all thirteen to win. There have been others that still say they are undecided but have really given strong indications of how they will vote, and almost all of those are the “leaning yes” types. So Pelosi could still lose one or two that we don’t expect. Of these true undecided, though, the first five voted “no” last time, and this would be a flip. I feel very confident about Nye, who has consistently made signals that sound like “no,” and he is in a very tough re-election fight. I’ve also been counting Space, who told Democratic leaders yesterday that he was strongly leaning towards a “no.” Berry, Carney and Kanjorski are pro-life. Though they aren’t in Stupak’s group, it’s still a factor for them. Kanjorski would also lose jobs in his district from a Sallie Mae processing center which would be negatively affected by the student loan provisions in this bill. Baird and Tanner are retiring, and they clearly don’t want to vote yes, but I expect that they will if Pelosi needs them.Baird, Brian Davis, Lincoln Matheson, Jim Nye, Glenn Tanner, John Foster, Bill Kanjorski, Paul Michaud, Mike Ortiz, Solomon Carney, Chris Pomeroy, Earl Space, Zack Schrader, Kurt
Update 3-20, 2:32 PM: It isn’t just DeFazio, Pelosi finally got the whole regional Medicare situation “fixed.” Pelosi has filed this “manager’s amendment” to the legislation.
Update 3-20, 2:30 PM: OK, this is Ryan again. I like how Firedoglake has finally realized that Schrader isn’t a yes vote. I emailed them about this on Wednesday, and they ignored me. Our count has been far, far more accurate than anything else anywhere.
Update 3-20, 2:12 PM (from MacAoidh): DeFazio has now flipped back to yes, according to Carl Cameron on Fox News, which now claims the Democrats have 218 votes for passage. We’re not convinced yet.
Update 3-20, 2:05 PM (from MacAoidh): The Rules Committee is now in recess, because Obama is about to hold a pep rally with the House Democrat Caucus, so that gives us time to show you the highlight from earlier today – which was Paul Ryan’s presentation to the committee on the numbers. Every time this guy shows up to talk about numbers, the Democrats have got to hate it:
Update 3-20, 1:50 PM (from MacAoidh): The Post story is now up, and it says, quoting Democrat Rep. Chris Van Hollen, there will be three votes tomorrow…
…the House would take three votes Sunday: first, on a resolution that will set the terms of debate; second, on a package of amendments to the Senate bill that have been demanded by House members; and third, on the Senate bill itself.
Van Hollen is also quoted as saying that the “deem and pass” controversy arises from a “campaign of misinformation.” Chew on that for a while.
Here’s the question if all this is true: why is it that the President couldn’t go to Australia and Indonesia? If the House was always going to take a vote on the Senate bill, then send a package of amendments to the Senate for reconciliation, this thing still has lots of time left in it beyond tomorrow.
The conclusion one can’t help but reach is that Obama and his people are determined to sign that Senate bill as soon as it passes the House. What would the consequences be then?
Update 3-20, 1:30 PM (from MacAoidh): The Washington Post is now running a news alert saying that “deem and pass” is being dropped. No explanation of what that means or where they got it; either they’ve got confirmation that Waxman speaks for Pelosi or if they’re just working off what Waxman said – which may have just been him popping off. If it’s the former, obviously one of two things is going on – Pelosi might think she’s siphoned off a couple of Stupak’s group and now has 216 votes to pass the Senate bill, or perhaps the leadership has looked at the constitutional problems “deem and pass” would put on the table.
On C-SPAN2, they’re talking about the Post alert in the Rules committee – David Dreier, the Republican ranking member, just asked about it, and it’s apparently the case.
Update 3-20, 12:55 PM (from MacAoidh): On C-SPAN2 right now is live coverage of the markup at the House Rules Committee, and it’s pretty interesting stuff. Irritating, sure. But interesting.
Meanwhile, Michael Barone at the Washington Examiner goes through the FireDogLake numbers, and he concludes as Ryan has that without Stupak’s 11 votes (it was 12, but it’s 11 now) Pelosi just can’t get to 216.
Update 3-20, 12:40 PM (from MacAoidh): Also from York, in a piece he wrote for the Washington Examiner today on the Rules Committee hearing this morning, is evidence of mass confusion as to exactly what the House is going to be voting on. As noted below, Henry Waxman said at the hearing that “We’re not going to ‘deem’ the bill passed. We’re going to pass the Senate bill…I would be against the idea of ‘deeming’ something — we either pass it or we don’t.”
But perhaps Waxman either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or doesn’t mean what it sounds like he means. York continues:
To Republican ears, that sounded as if Waxman was speaking out in support of a direct vote on the Senate plan. “I hope we’re making news here,” said Republican Rep. Joe Barton. If so, Barton added, “Praise the Lord!” Other Democrats jumped in to say that no, there would not be a direct vote on the Senate bill.
Barton then asked whether there would be some period of time between House passage of the Senate bill and House passage of the HCR amendments. During that period of time, the president would sign the Senate HCR bill into law. For the House to amend the HCR law, Barton said, it has to be law, which means the president has to have signed it. “If he doesn’t, it ain’t a law,” Barton said.
Democratic Rep. Sander Levin jumped in. “We’re going to be amending the law,” he claimed. Waxman added, “We change current law, and the current law will be the Senate bill once it’s voted on in the House.”
But it won’t be law until the president signs it. Obviously, Democrats are performing such strange contortions because many of their members are scared of voting for a bill that will likely mean defeat for them in November. But their attempts to avoid responsibility have created some very basic problems.
Update 3-20, 12:25 PM (from MacAoidh): Byron York tweets that if it’s a “deem and pass” vote, Cardozo (one of the two California Democrats who have been supposedly bought off with water for the San Fernando Valley) won’t vote in favor.
Update 3-20, 11:40 AM (from MacAoidh): The Corner just reported that Pelosi has said there will be “no separate votes” on the bill, which would more or less confirm that the Stupak deal is dead. It also just reported that Driehaus and Dahlkemper, who are two of Stupak’s 12, are in Pelosi’s office right now.
Update 3-20, 11:30 AM (from MacAoidh): Here’s a live stream of the tea party rally outside of the Capitol.
Update 3-20, 11:20 AM (from MacAoidh): This one isn’t a big surprise, but it’s a lesson for the GOP – Bill Owens is voting yes. Owens is the Rep from NY-23 in case you forgot; he barely beat Doug Hoffman and promptly voted for Obamacare the first time it came through the House.
Update 3-20, 11:15 AM (from MacAoidh): Meanwhile away from the Beltway, somebody did to Louise Slaughter’s office window what her Rules Committee did to the Constitution.
Update 3-20, 11:00 AM (from MacAoidh): From The Corner on NRO, comes this story out of the contentious House Rules Committee hearing:
A rough and rowdy Rules Committee hearing just ended, but not before it had another great moment. Challenged by Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (D., Fla.) over Deem-and-Pass, Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) responded, with not a little dissimulation: “We’re not going to deem the Senate bill passed.We’re going to pass the Senate bill. We’re going to pass it by a vote in the House.” (Editor’s Note: No, they won’t.)
Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas) responded. “We’re making news here. . . Praise the Lord!”
Update 3-20, 10:50 AM (from MacAoidh): A tweet from Fox News now says Baron Hill is voting “yes.” He was considered to be a likely switch to “no,” having voted for the original House Bill.
Update 3-20, 10:42 AM (from MacAoidh): TheHill.com reports that Stupak has cancelled his press conference today, which would indicate that the deal is dead. Pelosi couldn’t make it work. If this thing fails, it will be interesting to see who eventually gets the blame – the pro-choice Democrats, for holding up Obamacare because of a need for federal funding of abortion, or the pro-life Democrats for “turning coat” and joining with the Republicans.
Meanwhile, a Stupak spokeswoman told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that “negotiations are ongoing.”
Update 3-20, 9:50 AM: Greta van Susteren gets word that there will be no deal and hears that Stupak’s press conference may be canceled.
Update 3-20, 9:43 AM: On the amendments issue, my understanding is that amendments aren’t allowed under reconciliation rules. So all of them are either for delay, or to make a point so that those voting yes can campaign saying, “Well, I know that the bill was bad, but I offered this amendment, see…”
Update 3-20, 9:30 AM: Some people have been worried that Stupak may cave; I feel sure that he won’t. For Stupak, there is something larger on the line than Obamacare — the future of pro-life Democrats. If he caves, or if he settles for something that turns out to be a “protest vote,” then the pro-life movement will never trust anyone again who claims to be a pro-life Democrat. What’s more, the Democratic leadership will never regard their convictions with any value. On the other hand, if the Stupak gang holds, we have a watershed moment in American politics. Whether he forces a Pelosi deal, or whether Obamacare goes down in defeat, pro-lifers will have a place of regard and respect in the Democratic Party. That’s why the pro-choice crowd is upset — they know that many people will blame them for the failure of Obamacare to pass, because they essentially insisted on public funding of abortion.
Update 3-20, 9:10 AM (from MacAoidh): Ed Morrissey at HotAir has a summary of the 91 amendments submitted to the House Rules Committee in advance of tomorrow’s vote, broken down alphabetically by author. Some of these are quite creative. Most of them are by Republicans seeking to blow up the bill, and of course those won’t pass – Democrats on the committee voting against them will be forced to provide their fall opponents with some pretty juicy campaign fodder, though.
And then you’ve got the lefty amendments, like the one from well-known kook Alan Grayson which would allow folks to buy in to Medicare at cost…
Update 3-20, 8:55 AM: As I predicted last night, prospects for a Stupak deal appear to be collapsing. I’m putting the word “death” back in the thread title — shame on me for taking it out.
Update 3-20, 8:00 AM: Stupak was right. Back on Wednesday, he told The Hill in an interview:
“They’ll call me the night before and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to work this out. We don’t have the votes,’” he said. “Then we get serious.”
Update 3-20, 7:50 AM: On the Ellsworth situation, Freddoso is a smart guy, but if he had been reading this page he’d know that he’s wrong — Pelosi sacrificed Ellsworth in a failed attempt to “keep the momentum going” to make people think that Obamacare would pass. His U.S. Senate campaign is basically over before its really even started, and she ran out of votes and (to avoid losing) is now trying to make a deal with Stupak that she could have made days or weeks ago and given her plenty of votes to spare so Ellsworth could vote no. She destroyed his Senate campaign and his pro-life credibility and got nothing out of it.
Update 3-20, 7:40 AM: Thanks for the assist, Scott. Please keep pitching in.
Some people have been confused because Fox News has been reporting since the Kosmas flip that Pelosi has the votes. I don’t know how to express how dumb this is. She did not have the votes for a bill then, and she doesn’t have the votes for a bill now. She can potentially allow changes to the bill to get the Stupak group to vote yes and win, but such changes might cost her more votes than she gets. It was always clear that she would have the votes if she could successfully make a deal with Stupak. She is also still trying to “fix” the bill to satisfy DeFazio and the many silent members that he says will vote “no” with him if the regional Medicare disparity isn’t changed the way they want.
Update 3-20, 12:10 PM (from MacAoidh): One more thing before we hit this again in the morning – the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog picks up on the Brad Ellsworth situation with a piece about the political cost Ellsworth is facing for having switched his vote to “yes.” Specifically, Ellsworth’s likely Republican opponent in the Indiana Senate race, Dan Coats, put out a scathing rebuke of Ellsworth’s “yea,” complete with a letter from Gov. Mitch Daniels outlining all the terrible effects the bill will have on the Hoosier state.
Beltway Confidential’s David Freddoso comes to the conclusion that this is going to destroy any chance Ellsworth would have of winning that Senate race, and then offers this analysis:
If Ellsworth is being pushed into voting for this, you can bet that Speaker Pelosi has no votes to spare. But by the same token, you wouldn’t be hearing him commit in public if she didn’t have the votes.
Update 3-19, 11:51 PM (from MacAoidh): According to POLITICO, Obama will address the House Democratic Caucus at the Capitol at 3 PM Eastern time tomorrow. Harry Reid will be there as well. That’s going to make for an interesting crowd-control situation, as the Tea Party Patriots, Americans For Tax Reform and FreedomWorks, among others, have a sizable rally planned for noon at the Capitol’s West Lawn, with Steve King, Michele Bachmann and actor Jon Voigt set to speak. Does anybody worry that things might get a little dicey?
Update 3-19, 11:30 PM: One last one before I turn out the lights: Allahpundit over at Hot Air has a lot of speculation on the proposed Stupak deal, but like me, he says we’ll ultimately find out tomorrow.
Update 3-19, 11:15 PM: Tony Perkins and Steny Hoyer, two men with very little in common, both say that Stupak’s deal won’t work. We’ll see tomorrow. I’m going to bed.
Update 3-19, 10:50 PM: I was going to update my complete vote count tonight, but I’ve decided that would be a waste of time. It is clear that Obamacare will fail if a Pelosi-Stupak deal does not successfully take place. What is not clear is whether such a purported deal can succeed, either technically, or within the Democratic caucus.
What I still find astonishing is the timing. Anyone who actually looked at the individual votes and counted them could see that the votes to pass Obamacare simply were not there. Incredibly, no one else did this — least of all Nancy Pelosi. The damage that she has done to her own caucus is substantial, and she could lose the Speaker’s post over this. What was the point, for example, of forcing Rep. Ellsworth to seriously damage his U.S. Senate campaign earlier today by forcing him to declare his support for the bill? If she were going to make a deal with Stupak, she could have let Ellsworth keep his pro-life credentials instead of exposing him as a fraud. I think a lot of Democratic members are going to be very, very angry with her for her incompetent handling of this situation, no matter whether Obamacare ends up passing or not. This is going to have lasting consequences for congressional Democrats.
Update 3-19, 10:30 PM: I’m stunned. There is a deal. Pelosi has sold out to Stupak. He will get his vote, at least if Pelosi gets her way. In what is now an incredible irony, conservatives’ hopes of killing Obamacare reside in the strength of the pro-choice caucus, which supposedly had 41 members who would vote no on Obamacare if Stupak got his way. Firedoglake has all the details — just go there and read it.
Update 3-19, 9:40 PM: Firedoglake finally gets it: there is no path to passage of health care reform without some kind of abortion deal. David Dayen, writing there, thinks that there will be a deal, because he sees passage as inevitable. Clearly, I don’t. I see a bunch of people who know that this is extremely unpopular and would love to have a good reason to scuttle the leadership’s plans. Once it becomes clear to everyone else that the bill won’t pass, they will all start demanding stuff like DeFazio “or I won’t vote for the bill.” Then it will die without a vote, as I predicted back on Monday.
Update 3-19, 9:35 PM: I’m not bothering with the links, but Berkley, Kilroy, and Tonko all confirmed today that they would vote yes. I was already counting them all as yes. The whip count at The Hill is hopelessly behind and is pretty useless now.
Update 3-19, 9:28 PM: Just to compound Pelosi’s difficulties, another Democrat is saying that he’s undecided because the bill doesn’t fund enough abortions. He won’t actually vote against the bill, of course, but these constant brush fires that Pelosi has to put out just compound her difficulties.
Update 3-19, 9:25 PM: Thanks to commenter Dave, I learned that Teague has confirmed that he’s a no. That’s how we had him, but other counts like Firedoglake had him as undecided.
Update 3-19 8:50 PM: It makes you wonder. These guys are obviously very slow readers. It’s been a whole day and they haven’t been able to read 150 pages.
Update 3-19, 8:45 PM: Since Solomon Ortiz has a press conference scheduled for tomorrow, I’m taking him off my undecided list and calling him a yes vote. It had been speculated that he was part of Stupak’s group, but if he were, he’d simply be going to the Stupak group press conference.
Update 3-19, 8:35 PM: McNerney is leaning yes. I’ll take him off my undecided list. I had hopes for him based on his vote yesterday against “deem and pass.”
Update 3-19, 8:25 PM: More on Stupak’s proposal and how it would work (and why it won’t).
Update 3-19, 7:52 PM: Whoa. Rep. DeFazio is dead serious about voting no, bragging about voting no on the stimulus and cap and trade when his demands weren’t met. And since I don’t think that Pelosi has a good way to “fix” Medicare reimbursement at this stage of the game, I’m going to count him as voting no. The “no” side now has 217 votes.
Update 3-19, 7:40 PM: CNN is reporting that there is no deal, which is what I thought and continue to think. This is theater and butt-covering.
Anti-abortion Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan is asking for a vote on his language restricting taxpayer funding for abortion, and a group of female abortion rights Democrats came out of an emergency meeting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office Friday evening visibly angry about the prospect.
Rep. Diana Degette, D-Colorado, told reporters a vote on Stupak’s measure was a “non starter” and said “somewhere between 40 and 55” abortion rights Democrats would bolt from the bill.
“We are holding firm this time,” she insisted. “If Mr. Stupak and a few members along with the Republicans decide to use this to take health care down, that loss of health care will be in their hands.”
It’s not yet clear how seriously Democratic leaders are considering allowing a vote on Stupak’s abortion language, or in what form.
But Stupak told CNN he is in discussions with Pelosi.
“We had a good discussion with the speaker on the floor,” said Stupak. “But there was no agreement and there’s no agreement until we see it in writing and we get a chance to massage it.”
Update 3-19, 7:30 PM: OK, where there’s smoke, there’s fire: reporter Molly Hooper of The Hill tweets:
Stupak told me Dem leaders “don’t have the votes, or they wouldn’t be talking to me.” He holds a presser on Sat at 11am and hopes he’ll have an agreement to announce. Leaving the Capitol, he told me “there’s a proposal out there but nothing yet and we want to see it in writing and massage it,” which is what he told the Speaker during the 10 min pow wow. Rep. Becerra confirms that there are “animated discussions” going on over the abortion language with both sides.
I guess I have to take “Death” out of the title of the post now.
Update 3-19, 7:25 PM: Rep. Mitchell will vote yes. He was an undecided vote that it would have been nice to have.
Update 3-19, 7:20 PM: On the other hand, pro-choice Rep. Diana DeGette said, as she left Pelosi’s office, “We’re not happy.” So maybe there is a Stupak deal.
Update 3-19, 7:10 PM: Stupak reportedly met with Pelosi tonight. I still don’t think there’s a deal — it’s just too impractical. What I think is happening is that both of them want to be able to say that they tried their hardest to make a deal. Both of them need to be able to blame the other’s stubborness, because Stupak’s group will be unpopular in their own party, and Pelosi wants to get as little of the blame as possible.
Update 3-19, 6:45 PM: Stupak’s press conference “with other pro-life Democrats” will be at 10:00 AM tomorrow. Is it to announce a deal? Stupak has always said that he would not accept a promise of future action, so I’m skeptical, but we’ll see.
Update 3-19, 6:35 PM: Rep. Barrow will vote no. I had considered him a likely target for Pelosi and had him as undecided. That puts my own “no” count back to 216. The only way this bill will pass is if Pelosi can get a deal on abortion.
Update 3-19, 6:30 PM: Eric Cantor says, “There’s no way they can pass this bill.”
Update 3-19, 6:18 PM: People always give Larry Sabato too much credit. He tweets: “This will be a spectacular weekend as spring is sprung. Don’t waste it watching media counts on health care. It’s over. Bill will pass House.” We’ll see who’s right soon enough, Larry.
Update 3-19, 6:10 PM: Firedoglake, which is a very liberal blog, is depressed about their prospects. David Dayen is doing a good job, but he’s completely ignoring McNerney and Schrader, and should have Space and Teague as “no” votes instead of undecided, so the count is worse than he thinks:
If you look hard at the numbers, you can see why Pelosi is talking with Stupak and pro-choice women. With 214 No or lean No votes (including the Stupak bloc), Pelosi would have to prevent Dahlkemper and Kaptur from joining them. Then she would need all the other uncommitted votes, save one. That means she would have to get everyone who voted yes last time, plus Jim Matheson or Harry Teague (and all the lean Yes votes who went No last time, like Brian Baird and John Tanner). It’s just not that plausible.
Update 3-19, 5:53 PM: Pelosi has switched seven former no votes: Kucinich, Boyd, Gordon, Markey, Boccieri, Kosmas, and now Murphy. In the very beginning, I said that I thought she could switch seven. Now, though, I’m still giving her Tanner and Baird. That would be nine. If we get Arcuri, Lynch, and Space, and if the Stupak group is seven, then we’re still ahead. My gut is that Stupak’s group is really nine.
Update 3-19, 5:48 PM: “Pro-choice female Dems are shuttling in and out of Pelosi’s office and they won’t say why.” Tweet from a reporter for The Hill. Perhaps a Stupak deal is in the works, after all, or at least being attempted.
Update 3-19, 5:45 PM: Scott Murphy is, as expected, a yes. Pelosi still hasn’t flipped a vote that we didn’t expect.
Update 3-19, 5:38 PM: By the way, Bart Stupak has a press conference scheduled for tomorrow morning. Maybe he’ll have his group with him and we’ll find out for sure about Carney, Dahlkemper, Berry, Ortiz, Kanjorski and Kaptur. We know that Stupak, Costello, Driehaus, Donnelly, Rahall, and Lipinski are in his group, but if his dozen turns out to be six, Pelosi has a chance. I’m still counting Dahlkemper and Kaptur, but I don’t mind trading them for the other names I mentioned. I just counted again and that would leave us at 215, so we really need the Stupak group to be nine or get one of the other undecided votes, since I don’t feel that I can count DeFazio.
Update 3-19, 5:18 PM: Here’s a very good article explaining the Medicare reimbursement problem that DeFazio and others have with the bill. I’m still not counting DeFazio as a no, because I still expect this to get worked out somehow, though that will be very difficult.
Update 3-19, 5:15 PM: I still can’t believe that the Democrats just gave up a U.S. Senate seat. Ellsworth was going to have a tough campaign for Evan Bayh’s seat in Indiana, but now he has no chance. If the Democrats weren’t frantically desperate, they would have protected him and let him vote no.
Update 3-19, 5:08 PM: Firedoglake has a new count 200 YES to 209 NO, 207 YES to 212 NO with leaners included. It’s a good count, but we know from multiple reports that Space is leaning no, and Rahall is a flat-out no. That count also has Kaptur as a “leaning yes”, but she has said that the current abortion language is “unacceptable,” so that would take a lot of explaining. They have also ignored McNerney and Schrader, both whom I think are “undecided,” if not “leaning no.”
Update 3-19, 4:40 PM: Maybe I’m counting chickens before they are hatched: Ellsworth is a yes. Ellsworth is running for U.S. Senate in Indiana, so he’s dead meat either way, but this is bad news, as I had him pegged solidly in the Stupak bloc and was counting on his vote. Perhaps I should now re-evaluate other members of the Stupak bloc.
Update 3-19, 4:30 PM: Kosmas will switch from last time and vote yes. She was “undecided” in my book, so we still have 217.
Update 3-19, 4:20 PM: Don’t hyperventilate over this statement from Joseph Cao that he “hopes to reconsider” his vote this weekend if Pelosi deals on abortion. Cao knows perfectly well that such a deal is impossible. The other Stupak members are saying similar things to protect them with their Democratic base. In Cao’s case, most of the electorate in his district is Democrat. Don’t forget that the 2008 vote in LA-2 was Obama 75%, McCain 23%.
Update 3-19, 3:45 PM: “There are a number of people who may be miscounted at this time,” DeFazio said of the “yes” vote count. This is the kind of thing that can happen when you are desperately changing a bill to get workable CBO numbers: you make one change accidentally and critically damage a bill. Even if there is a way for Pelosi to “fix” this through parliamentary procedure, she can’t send the bill back to the CBO now. Under reconciliation rules, this bill must reduce the deficit from the Senate bill. If she adds back in money now to fix the regional Medicare disbursement, the bill will probably cost too much to be considered under reconciliation rules. I thought the bill would fail anyway, but this has got to be the nail in the coffin.
Update 3-19, 3:30 PM: Read DeFazio’s statement about why he plans to vote no. That gives the “no” side a solid 217 votes, enough to kill the bill with one to spare. There may be a way for Pelosi to “fix” this for DeFazio, though.
Update 3-19, 3:25 PM: Altmire will vote no! That should just about do it, folks. And Boyd switches to yes, but readers of this space already knew that was likely. Baird and Scott Murphy are her likely next victims.
Update 3-19, 2:50 PM: Cuellar was a longshot, but he sounds like a yes.
Update 3-19, 2:38 PM: John McCormack in The Weekly Standard is as optimistic as I am. I also think that Stupak has the same nine that he does (though I have some concern about Berry). Even if it ends up being eight, those and Arcuri and Lynch mean that Pelosi would have to flip ten to win, and I just can’t see it.
Update 3-19, 2:30 PM: Perriello says that he’s a yes … maybe. He’ll vote for the bill if he gets written assurances from 50 senators that the parts he doesn’t like will be taken out. Says that he doesn’t think the bill will fund abortions. This one is unfortunate, as I thought he would be with us after voting against “deem and pass” yesterday. That puts us at 214 solid.
Update 3-19, 2:15 PM: Paul Ryan says that’s it’s 50-50. The problem is that it’s hard for the House GOP to really know what’s going on, as all the discussion is on the Democratic side.
Update 3-19, 2:05 PM: Holy Cow. This is insane. Politico has obtained a document (they have pulled the story until they can verify its origins), that supposedly promises that the “Doc fix” will come later on … but don’t talk about it now because it’ll hurt the bill. Let’s see if the document is real. If so, she’ll lose every Blue Dog vote.
Update 3-19, 1:45 PM: Dick Morris is right (thanks for the tip, Scott) that Pelosi is on a “suicide run.” Why is she pushing for a vote on Sunday when it’s still likely she’ll lose? Because Democrats have no choice. The longer this drags out, the worse it is for them, because eventually the public will wear down her members into voting no. She can’t let them go home for Easter or it’s over. In fact, if they don’t vote on Sunday, everyone will see that the emperor has no clothes, so she has to push forward and hope for a miracle.
Update 3-19, 1:23 PM: Pelosi shoots down any Stupak deal. As I said, it was all about Stupak & Co. being able to say that they did everything they could — and also a way for them to stay undecided as long as possible. Now, we’ll start to find out just how many and how strong the Stupak group is.
Update 3-19, 1:00 PM: What is amazing to me is how bad of a job other media outlets are doing or reporting on the vote count. Take this brand new article from The Hill, a publication that a lot of people pay good money for. They list Shea-Porter and Kagen as “leaning yes” when they have in fact publicly said that they will vote yes. They also have Zack Space as “leaning yes” when the Washington Post reported this morning that he in fact has informed House leadership that he plans to vote no.
Update 3-19, 12:45 PM: Accoring to the same Huff Post link below, DeFazio is not alone in demanding that his state get its fair share in Medicare disbursements. Pelosi’s team is scrambling. If they start losing otherwise liberal members over this, they have no hope. The Democrats will get this worked out, but this just indicates the disorganized mess that the their effort has turned into.
Update 3-19, 11:44 AM: According to the Huffington Post, Dina Titus is a yes — she was previously undecided. Also, DeFazio has been a “yes,” but he now says that he’s a no unless the bill is changed so that Oregon gets its fair share of Medicare disbursements. Pelosi says that she’s working on it (I thought that special deals were out? Ha.)
Update 3-19, 11:12 AM: By the way, the talk of a Stupak deal is entirely one-sided. Stupak and his gang are talking about a deal because they want Democratic primary voters (and potential primary challengers) to know that they really, really wanted to vote for comprehensive health care reform that would guarantee coverage to millions of uninsured, etc. The Democratic leadership
Update 3-19, 11:03 AM: Another story about a possible deal with Stupak. Again, I don’t really think a deal is possible, because the Democratic House women will revolt and the Senate won’t go along. No, the big news in the story is Rahall saying that he is a solid member of the Stupak bloc and will vote “no” unless the abortion language is changed. That’s awesome! It still leaves us at 215, though, since I just took Carney out.
Update 3-19, 10:55 AM: Not good news: I think I need to take Chris Carney out of my “no” count. His committment to Stupak doesn’t seem secure. He goes back into the “undecided” list.
Update 3-19, 10:50 AM: This is great news: The Washington Post is reporting that Zach Space has told House leaders that he is leaning “no.” I had him as leaning “yes” and hadn’t thought this likely. If he were truly a “no”, that would put opponents at 216, but I’ll wait for more confirmation.
Update 3-19, 10:40 AM: Former Rep. Tom Delay, known as “The Hammer” for his ability to round up votes, is pessimistic about our chances of defeating the bill. He says that Kaptur is just too liberal to vote “no,” no matter the her promises to Stupak, and that Costello “can be bought.”
Update 3-19, 10:35 AM: As I expected, Boccieri will vote switch and vote yes.
Update 3-19, 9:37 AM: I’m now ready to officially add Lynch to the “no” column. I’ve hesitated because he’s generally pretty liberal, but he met with the President yesterday, and the visit didn’t sway him. That puts my “no” count at a pretty solid 215, with 14 pretty good prospects. Pelosi would need all 14, plus all her other wavering votes.
Update 3-19, 9:15 AM: Updated most-likely-to-switch lists from Politico are out. These are dead on, in my opinion.
NO-TO-YES: 1) Kucinich, 2) Gordon, 3) Markey, 4) Baird, 5) Boccieri, 6) Boyd, 7) Scott Murphy, 8 ) Kosmas, 9) Altmire, 10) Kissell, 11) Tanner, 12) Teague, 13) Matheson, 14) McMahon, 15) Barrow, 16) Chandler
YES-TO-NO: 1) Stupak, 2) Arcuri, 3) Lynch, 4) Donnelly, 5) Lipinski, 6) Costello, 7) Driehaus, 8 ) Dahlkemper, 9) Ellsworth, 10) Kaptur, 11) Carney, 12) Berry, 13) Pomeroy, 14) Space, 15) Cuellar, 16) Mollohan, 17) Mitchell, 18) Titus, 19) Foster, 20) Bean, 21) Hill, 22) Owens, 23) Kanjorski, 24) Rahall, 25) Etheridge, 26) Ortiz
I’m very confident that Pelosi will get 4-7 on her target list, and I have some concerns about 8-11, and I would have had had Barrow ranked higher than 15, though maybe they know something I don’t. She isn’t getting Teague, Chandler, or McMahon though. On the other hand, Stupak has rallied his troops and I think that 1-11 are very solid “no” votes at this point (all except Arcuri and Lynch are his). I also feel very good about our chances with 13-20, Kanjorski (student loan provision would eliminate jobs at a Sallie Mae processing center in his district), and McNerny and Schrader (who have both kept a low enough profile to stay off these lists).
Update 3-19, 9:00 AM: Democrats are bragging that they are within five votes; they are lying. They have lied throughout this process to create the sense of inevitability of the bill — remember Rep. Larson saying on Monday that they had the votes then? Pelosi is still at least 15 votes away and probably 20.
Update 3-19, 8:45 AM: Rep. Boccieri has a 9:40 CT press conference to announce his vote. He’s most likely switching his vote from “no” to “yes.” He is a must get and an expected get for Pelosi, which is why I didn’t even list him in my “undecided” count below. For the record, I also expect her to get Boyd, Tanner, Baird, and Scott Murphy to switch from “no” to “yes.” Those, plus Kucinich, Gordon, and Markey, would still be counterbalanced by a Stupak group of eight and Arcuri. If she flips any “no” votes other than those eight, then it gets interesting.
Update 3-19, 8:30 AM: There is new talk of a deal with Stupak on abortion. In my opinion, this is the only way that Obamacare can win, but it will come at a heavy cost to Democrats. I think he might face more liberal defections than he gets back with Stupak, as the pro-choice groups only went along with Stupak the first time because they were promised it would be cut out in conference committee. And, as Stupak just said on ABC, the deal has to include the Senate — a tall order.
Update 3-19, 6:11 AM: After reading this, I’m going to move Lynch back to “leaning no,” but I’m not counting on his vote. He’s a pretty liberal guy, though his district went 55% for Scott Brown.
Update 3-18, 11:15 PM: Joseph Cao reviewed the Senate language again, per the President’s request, and found that it still funded abortions. So he’s still a no.
Update 3-18, 10:45 PM: I’m going to ignore Bobby Rush’s silliness. There is simply no way that he will vote against Obamacare. The only good thing about this is that it is one more distraction for Pelosi & Co.
Update 3-18, 8:15 PM: I’ve been working and haven’t had time to do a proper analysis of today’s the “deem and pass” rule challenge. Fortunately, Michael Barone was on the case. Before I get into the individual members, I think that the vote was very revealing — it showed Pelosi just how far behind she is. By exposing her problems, though, she knows who her problems are, which may help her “fix” them (which is not good for our side).
Now, voting for “deem and pass” does not necessarily indicate a vote for the main bill — the Stupak group, for instance, will vote against the main bill because of abortion, not deem and pass. Likewise, it’s possible (though much less likely) that a member could vote against deem and pass and still think that Obamacare is so wonderful that they vote for the main bill despite disapproving of the procedure.
With those caveats in place, Barone starts off:
Of the 28 Democrats voting no, 16 voted against the House health care bill last November: Bright (AL 2), Davis (AL 7), Kosmas (FL 24), Minnick (ID 1), Melancon (LA 3), Kratovil (MD 1), Childers (MS 1), Taylor (MS 4), Adler (NJ 3), Teague (NM 2), McIntyre (NC 7), Shuler (NC 11), Boren (OK 2), Holden (PA 17), Herseth Sandlin (SD 1), Nye (VA 2).
That firms up Nye from a “lean no” to a “no” in my book, and moves Kosmas back to a “lean no” from a “lean yes”. She has been a prime target for a flip, and this was a strong vote against the leadership. Some lists also had Teague and Childers as possible Dem targets, and this should remove them as well.
Of the Democrats who voted “yes” last year but voted against “deem and pass,” Stupak, Lipinski, Costello, and Carney were already known to be opposing the bill because of abortion. Dahlkemper’s vote today confirms her as a member of the Stupak bloc and a “no” vote on the bill (I previously had her as undecided). Of the others, McNerny and Perriello were undecided and this puts them into the “lean no” category. I had pegged Giffords as voting “yes,” so I’ll move her back to undecided along with Mitchell, and Cooper. Michaud isn’t on my radar screen, so I’m leave that vote as a “yes” until I get more information.
On the other hand, I’m very perplexed that Lynch and Altmire voted for “deem and pass,” as both of them have publicly blasted the procedure. I’m now going to put both of them as “undecided” and take them out of the “no” column.
I’m really only counting “no” votes at this point, because most of the undecided members will vote yes. I’m confident in 214 votes right now, and there are 8 more that I think are at least 50-50, with some others that are still good possibilities. These are the Democrats in my count as voting no:
- A. Davis
- L. Davis
The “undecided” ones I think we have a good chance at:
If I am right about the above 36, then we only need two from the second list to defeat the bill.
Update 3-18, 6:42 PM: Retiring Bart Gordon flips his no vote to yes, along with Betsy Markey. These were critical for Pelosi, and Markey is a key pickup. She still needs at least seven more flips her way — without losing any more of her own outside of Arcuri, Lynch, and the Stupak gang (which I have at eight) — to have a chance, and I really think that she only has eight legitimate targets in Baird, Tanner, Boccieri, Boyd, Scott Murphy, Kosmas, Barrow and Kissell.
Update 3-18, 6:25 PM: John Boehner on Pelosi’s chances: “if this comes to the floor, it’s already over…though I still don’t know how she can get there [to 216].…I’d never put myself in this box.”
Update 3-18, 3:08 PM: As I expected, Rep. Luis Gutierrez has caved and will vote yes. For him to have actually brought down the bill over its “failure” to cover illegal aliens was always unlikely. Ultimately, he is a liberal Democrat who knows what’s good for him.
Update 3-18, 2:05 PM: There is a bill! No, I don’t have time to read it.
Update 3-18 1:50 PM: Let’s review the vote count. I wanted to get confirmation on this morning’s Boston Herald report about Rep. Lynch, and we now have that. He’s a definite “no” and is even refusing to take the White House’s calls. His flip and Arcuri’s confirmation of his mean that we have two non-Stupak switches in our direction. Stupak still claims to have a dozen in his block, and Rep. Lipinski is (kind of) confirming that. If we assume that Stupak is exaggerating by one or two and Pelosi pries one or two from the block, that would leave them with at least eight more yes-to-no switches, meaning that Pelosi has to flip nine more (than Kucinich) “no” votes to “yes.” Altmire’s determination to vote against the Slaughter rule (which still appears to be Pelosi’s strategy) would remove him from the target list, and I don’t see how Pelosi can get there.
Update 3-18 12:30 PM: Final CBO scores supposedly won’t be available until Friday or Saturday. Hoyer’s leak of the “preliminary” numbers this morning reeks of desperation — they knew that they had to stop the bleeding with a number that sounded good (at least, $940 Billion sounds good to some Democrats). Hoyer also promised this morning that the actual bill would be released at noon. Guess what? There still is no bill.
Update 3-18, 12:15 PM: Trip postponed until June! I have to admit that this improves Obamacare’s prospects in the immediate sense, but there is now no deadline except Easter, so time will continue to drag down the vote longer. There is now no immediacy for members — the undecideds can decide to read the entire bill front to back before they make up their minds. The President was in the best position with a reasonable deadline, and if they had a bill and CBO numbers on Monday, then he would have had a firm urgency on his side.
Update 3-18, 11:40 AM: Awesome. All House Republicans are going to go to the Rules Committee and demand amendments. They should be able to delay the bill a while. This may force another decision by the President on delaying his trip.
Update 3-18 11:30 AM: Big news. Arcuri has made his decision. He will vote “no.” That is a confirmed “yes” to “no” switch and a very good sign for our side.
Update 3-18, 11:25 AM: La Raza is still opposed. I’m still not buying that Gutierrez and other hispanic members will actually vote no, but this is a distraction that the White House doesn’t need.
Update 3-18, 10:05 AM: If you are Barack Obama and you are inviting Joe Cao to the Oval Office, then you really aren’t close to having the votes.
Update 3-18 9:53 AM: Unreal. You are kidding me. There actually is no CBO score yet. Steny Hoyer just made that up. They’ve now promised to release the new bill at noon.
Update 3-18, 9:45 AM Politico’s experts have put together a “most likely to switch” list for each side, in order.
NO-TO-YES: 1) Kucinich, 2) Gordon, 3) Baird, 4) Tanner, 5) Boccieri, 6) Boyd, 7) Scott Murphy, 8 ) Kosmas, 9) Kissell, 10) Altmire, 11) Markey, 12) Teague, 13) Matheson, 14) McMahon, 15) Childers, 16) Barrow, 17) Chandler
YES-TO-NO: 1) Stupak, 2) Lipinski, 3) Costello, 4) Ellsworth, 5) Donnelly, 6) Driehaus, 7) Kaptur, 8 ) Dahlkemper, 9) Arcuri, 10) Carney, 11) Cuellar, 12) Berry, 13) Pomeroy, 14) Mollohan, 15) Mitchell, 16) Titus, 17) Space, 18) Foster, 19) Bean, 20) Owens, 21) Hill, 22) Kanjorski, 23) Rahall, 24) Ortiz
I think their list is very accurate, though Lynch needs to go on the list at about #12 now. If I have to guess, I think Pelosi can get the first nine on the “no-to-yes” list, and I’m confident that Stupak can get through Carney on his list (Arcuri isn’t Stupak’s — he’s voting no for other reasons). That would have health care failing by one vote. But again, I think that we see more “no” votes come out once the bill’s details emerge. Our side has a lot, lot more potential targets than theirs.
Update 3-18, 9:05 AM OK, that’s a reason to vote for the bill that I hadn’t considered: if you are a Democrat who is likely to lose in November anyway, you should vote “yes” so that you can get a good lobbying job. Voting “no” could be bad for future Democratic job prospects. My prediction that the vote will fail is still in the minority, but we’ll see.
Update 3-18, 8:45 AM So there is a bill! Now let’s see what pixie dust they sprinkled to get it to come in at $940 Billion.
Update 3-18, 7:55 AM Jon Ward examines the Democratic “anxiety” occurring because of the delay in, you know, getting an actual bill ready and mentions that Obamacare is dead if the President leaves for Asia before a vote. Will the President delay his trip again?
Update 3-18, 7:20 AM Boom! That’s the sound of Rep. Stephen Lynch saying he may vote no. Lynch is a Pelosi floorleader and wasn’t on anyone’s watch list until this morning, as everyone assumed that he was a solid vote for Obamacare. Note, too, that his concern is about the excise tax on “high end” health plans — the same excise tax that President Obama is reportedly raising even higher is an effort to get the bean counters’ blessing. Lynch says he’s a solid “no” on the Slaughter rule. The article also mentions Reps. Tierney and Capuano as undecided. These guys are Massachusetts liberals — think Scott Brown’s win had an effect up there?
Update 3-17, 11:00 PM The NRCC is blasting California Reps. Costa and Cardoza for a supposed water for health care swap, but I already had both of them as “yes” votes in my count.
Update 3-17, 9:20 PM Something that I missed earlier was this report of an emergency meeting that Pelosi had with female Democrat members. Presumably, it was to talk about Stupak and abortion. The writer, Thomas Peters, says that Pelosi will have to eventually compromise with Stupak to pass the bill. I’m not sure that she can do that. When she allowed the vote on the Stupak amendment last year, it was understood that it would be taken out later. She would have a revolt on her hands if she tried to make a deal with him now, not to mention that abortion doesn’t pass the Byrd rule and so isn’t eligible for reconciliation anyway.
Update 3-17, 8:00 PM There will be no bill or CBO numbers tonight, but they are supposedly coming soon. Of course, they were supposed to be released Monday.
Meanwhile, Democrats are now saying that the President should postpone his trip again. I love this quote:
“For the first time in eight months, the president is finally getting his hands dirty, and now he’s going to hop on the plane? Please,” said a Democratic congressman, requesting anonymity.
That same link has Marcy Kaptur saying that the Senate language on abortion is “unacceptable.” That’s big, as most vote counts had put her into the “leaning yes” category. That has to put her back to straight undecided or even “leaning no.” Also, Altmire keeps talking and is now clearly a likely “no.” My own count goes to 202 – 213. That would leave 16 undecided, and Pelosi would need 14 of them. She’ll lose more of the undecided when the numbers come out, if they ever do. The liberal Firedoglake has their newest count at 205-210, but five of their “undecided” members are listed as “leaning no” or “likely no” by The Hill. That would put opponents just one vote away.
Update 3-17, 6:05 PM Time’s up! Democrats have promised to release the bill at least 72 hours before voting on it. They have also promised to vote by Saturday. One of those promises will now be broken, as there is still no bill.
Update 3-17, 6:00 PM Another reason that the Democrats don’t have a bill: they are having real trouble writing stuff that isn’t susceptible to the Byrd rule. If the Senate throws stuff out of the bill, then it has to go back to the House again after that.
Update 3-17, 5:50 PM So it appears that, in order to get the cost down, the Democrats have decided to stick it to Big Labor and tax their health plans at a higher rate. I haven’t had a chance to check individual members, but several undecided members were focused on getting the excise tax down — they will now have their excuse to bail and vote “no.”
Update 3-17, 4:40 PM Hot Air rounds up the whip counts and says Pelosi is in trouble. It’s good stuff, but I still haven’t seen anyone repeating my point that Pelosi can’t craft a bill that will pass.
Update 3:17, 4:25 PM The Campaign Spot reprints a statement from John Fund’s email which states that CBO estimates came in over $1 trillion and confirms my suspicions that Obamacare will fail without a vote. “(Clyburn) is dealing with dozens of members who refuse to commit to a firm position in hopes their silence will force the leadership to pull the bill and move on to other issues. ‘Just say nothing,’ is how one Democratic staffer explained the strategy being taken by many members. ‘Maybe it will just go away, and we can avoid a tough vote this close to the election.'”
Update 3-17, 3:35 PM NRO’s Jeffrey Anderson says, “With March Madness fast approaching, it’s best not to have Obamacare going very far in your bracket.”
Update 3-17 2:30 PM Rep. Slaughter now says that the Rules Committee won’t meet until Saturday “at the earliest.” They can’t meet because the don’t have a bill. Sen. Reid is now saying that the CBO numbers are “pretty close.” Right, just like the Democrats have the votes. Remember ten years ago when the media first referred to George W. Bush as “all hat and no cattle”?
Update 3-17 11:50 AM Michael Barone has caught on to this as well. He also implies (though he doesn’t actually say it) that Obamacare will never come up for a vote in the House. Why? Because voting is the last thing that these “undecided” members want to do, because they either vote yes and alienate the voters, or they vote no and alienate their base (and maybe even face a primary challenge). Pelosi knows this, so it makes no sense to force a vote that she will lose. If there is no vote, though, liberal activists will go berserk. Stay tuned, because this is going to be fun.
Update 3-17 10:15 AM: Wow. I didn’t even know this until now: since “reconciliation” is ostensibly for budget reduction, the bill that the House passes must reduce spending from the Senate bill. Since so many of the “undecided” Democrats are saying that they will vote no unless stuff is put back in from the Senate version (e.g. Kurt Schrader says he’s a no unless the Medicare cuts are eased), it is not possible for the Democrats to create a bill that can pass. Obamacare is dead. They can’t come within 15 votes of passage.
The only question now is how it will die. Will the Democrats have an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill and lose by 25 or 30 votes? Or will they still try to craft a reconciliation bill and negotiate and drag this thing out for weeks, further turning the public against them as they waste the taxpayers’ time?
Update 3-17, 9:00 AM: CNN is reporting an additional five Demcrats would vote “no” on the Senate bill, but would consider it with certain modifications. This includes Rep. Gutierrez, who opposes the bill because it prohibits illegal immigrants from getting Obamacare. Crafting a bill that pleases all of them and keeps the cost low enough to keep other Dems from jumping ship is impossible. That is why the Democrats don’t have a bill and why Obamacare will fail.
UPDATE 3-16, 11:50 PM: Rep. Altmire had previously been moved into the voting “yes” list by both the NRCC and Firedoglake based on comments from Jim Clyburn. Altmire’s statements this evening should put him squarely back in the “undecided” camp, if not “leaning no.” He said that he’s had three conversations with the President, but that he’s going to vote the way his district wants him to vote. He then basically explains why his district wants him to vote no. Taking him out of the yes column and putting him back in the undecided would make my count 203 to 212.
UPDATE 3-16, 10:30 PM: Philip Klein has written the same argument over at the Spectator, and he has the quotes to prove that this theory was correct. I had only seen a vague Twitter rumor when I wrote this post.
The Congressional Budget Office should have released its numbers yesterday on the newest version of Obamacare. They didn’t — and then they didn’t release them today either. A bunch of lazy pencil pushers too busy making out NCAA tournament brackets to do their jobs? Actually, it’s almost certain that they got some preliminary numbers to Pelosi over the weekend and the numbers were very bad for Obamacare, so Pelosi revised the bill and sent it back to the CBO. It means that the bill that the Democrats wanted was too expensive, and so they had to put in some more Medicare cuts or something.
Speaking of which, we still don’t have a bill! The President delayed his trip to the Pacific from the 18th to the 21st so that the House could vote before then. “It’s time to vote!” the President has been saying at his rallies, but there isn’t yet a bill for the House to vote on. Once they have a bill, the Democrats still haven’t agreed on a procedure — they still don’t know if they are going to use the “Slaughter rule” or not.
That’s why we saw Rep. Jim Clyburn say today that he wouldn’t even bet on a vote before Easter (!), a statement that was quickly contradicted by other Democrat leaders. They know that if they don’t have the votes by the time that the President leaves on the 21st, they will lose, because public opinion will eventually catch up and more Democrats will announce that they are opposed.
The vote count for Obamacare is not improving. The very liberal Firedoglake optimistically (for them, anyway) has the vote at 191 Yes – 206 No, with the vote at 206 – 209 once those they define as “leaning” are factored in (I disagree with them on eight specific votes). The NRCC, which pegged the “Clyburn four” as “yes” votes before anyone else (they aren’t selling sunshine), has the vote at 189 to 205. My own personal count, which uses the two counts above and also the count from The Hill (see this post for more details), would put the vote at 204 to 212 right now if I had to push leaners, with 15 votes truly undecided.
Tomorrow morning, in a desperate attempt to regenerate their stalled momentum, the Democrats are going to trot out Dennis Kucinich to announce that he’s switching his vote and will now vote for the plan. So the “vote whip for the ages” that Pelosi & co. have been doing has so far only finally convinced crazy Dennis that the bill really is leftist enough for him? Watch for the media cheerleaders to then announce that now Obamacare is on the cusp of passage (here’s an advance hyperventilator).
Don’t be fooled. Obamacare is still losing, and the clock is now working against the Democrats.