Counting the Votes For ObamaCare


Vote count?

As President Obama makes a final attempt to resuscitate his health care reform plan, ABC's Jake Tapper counts the votes:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has signaled to the White House that it's unclear if there are enough votes in the House to pass the Senate bill. The House version passed in November by a vote of 220-215, but since then three "yea" votes have vanished: Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Florida, retired; Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., passed away; and Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, R-Louisiana, has signaled he will not vote for the final bill.

That puts Pelosi in a starting-off point of 217 votes which is a majority of the current 433-member House of Representatives, but is also a tough starting line given the prevailing political winds and the lack of desire of many House Democrats to re-enter this discussion at a time when many Americans want the Capitol to focus on job creation.

Other senior Democrats argue that passing nothing will be a worse option, politically speaking, because Democrats have already been branded with the caricature of the bill.

Pelosi believes passing the bill is "possibly doable," the senior White House official said. "But she may ultimately decide the math is impossible."

The lack of confidence here can't be inspiring for anyone who still hopes the bill will pass, and it shows (as I argued last week), that this week's final push is still more messaging strategy than vote-getting strategy. 

What's more, I think Tapper's vote-count is probably overstated. What he fails to note is that many of the original House votes were contingent on a last-minute addition of strict language barring federal funding for abortions. That language isn't in the Senate bill, and it's not clear that the pro-life Democrats who bought into the original House bill would sign onto any legislation without those provisions. In other words, 217—the bare minimum required to pass the Senate bill—is likely the maximum number of votes Pelosi has, and there's a good chance she doesn't even have that. 

Update: Press releases like this one from the National Right to Life Committee, which says that the White House compromise proposal is even worse than the Senate bill, aren't going to make it any easier to bring pro-life Democrats onboard.  

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  1. Every day the Dems spend talking about health care is a day they don’t spend preparing the ground for mid-terms.

    Anyone who thinks “Throw the bums out” should be job one in November should be pleased.

    1. I believe the talking about health care is intended to be preparing the ground for mid-terms.

      Whether that is an effective strategy is doubtful.

      1. Indeed. I don’t see much else they can really do to prepare for the mids…there’s a limited amount passing yet another “jobs bill” can do when they did that last year already.

        That, plus their base has got to be hopping mad that they had control of the presidency, the House, and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate for nearly a year, and they still got none of the significant items on their agenda made into law.

  2. Counting the Votes For ObamaCare.

    Ok, there’s one, there’s . . . two. There’s . . . I guess, three. Oh, ok, four. And five! Hmmm. Good.

    And . . .

  3. Is healthcare the leading issue right now in a stagnant economy? Was it worth a year–possibly more–of the Democrats’ time? This question alone may kill them in a record way in November.

    It took a lot of work–a lot–to make people turn back to the GOP, but the Democrats have done it. And are doing it.

    1. It was definitely worth it, and still is. The more time they put into things that never go anywhere, the less time they put into things to do.

      It is virtually impossible that anything that did go through, would be anything good.

      I for one hope they keep pushing ObamaCare for at least another decade.

  4. The lack of confidence here can’t be inspiring for anyone who still hopes the bill will pass[…]

    You’ll be surprised. The True Religion has many convinced followers…

  5. “Other senior Democrats argue that “passing nothing will be a worse option, politically speaking, because Democrats have already been branded with the caricature of the bill.”

    This is some really sad reasoning.

    1. Seems like a political version of the sunk cost fallacy.

  6. I believe the number needed to pass the bill is 218, not 217. IIRC, they need a majority of all eligible seats, whether or not those seats currently have an incumbent, so if 100 House members resigned en masse, the number of votes needed would remain at 218.

  7. “Look, I can make a ‘W’ with my arms! Remember him? He was TERRIBLE!”

    1. I am not a big fan of Bush, but I would take him anytime over the current crop of A_holes.

  8. Rumors are that there is a Room 101 in the Senate Bill and Nancy has threatened to implement a pilot program for any heretics. That’s not something they usually talk about on the evening news.

  9. I’m amazed that Pelosi is still Speaker. Can’t they have her removed or something?

    1. She’s like a venerial wart. I believe she needs to be cryogenically treated first.

      1. Huh. I assumed that had already happened.

        1. I don’t know what you mean, I always thought she was kind of hot..

          1. But I do have a necrophilia fetish

            1. That much is obvious.

              Pelosi isn’t hot in any real sense of the word unless you are a very, very lonely 15 year old boy.

  10. I generally care little for the abortion issue, but am very grateful for it at the moment.

  11. “possibly doable” is just another way of saying “probably impossible”.

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