(This guest post previously appeared at the blog of the House minority whip)
It has been widely reported that the White House and congressional Democrats are gaining momentum towards passing their government take-over of health care. Democrat Leadership may be selling that story to recalcitrant rank-and-file Democrats, but those Democrats shouldn’t be buying it.
Let’s Be Clear: No Democrat who has switched from a “no” to a “yes” so far has been a surprise. Quite the opposite—those five have been predictable.
We’re not the Democrat Whip, but these numbers aren’t hard to crunch:
38 Democrats are needed to defeat a government take-over of health care.
Of the original 37 Democrat NO votes, 5 have publicly switched their votes to “yes”: John Boccieri, Allen Boyd, Bart Gordon, Dennis Kucinich, and Betsy Markey.
That means there are 32 current Democrat NO votes left. Unless those 32 Democrats want to dispute our characterization of their position, that’s a fact. Here’s a few from that group who might want to dispute they’re a no, so we’re watching them with a close eye: Brian Baird, Suzanne Kosmas, Michael McMahon, Scott Murphy, John Tanner, and Harry Teague.
Seemingly, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a comfortable victory if she only has 32 NO votes…but that ignores 2 groups.
The first group is from a pool of original “yes” votes who are in conservative-leaning districts, and know that a government take-over is widely unpopular. It seems clear that Speaker Pelosi could lose any one of these Members—in fact, it appears she’s already lost at least one: Michael Arcuri, Marion Berry, Jim Costa, Gabby Giffords, Stephen Lynch, and Zach Space.
The second group is very well-known by now for taking a principled stand: The “Stupak 12.” Only Mr. Stupak knows exactly who his 12 are and we respect their privacy.
So, if we add 12 to 32, we get 44—which leaves Speaker Pelosi 7 votes short.
Since that doesn’t take into account the additional Members we’ve listed above, we will continue to watch them closely.
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