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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pelosi's 'House' Might Not Have Votes For Obamacare

The headlines have been inundated with news that the Democrats, led by Obama might use a procedural trick to pass Obamacare and bypass a filibuster by using a process called reconciliation, but Philip Klein over at The American Spectator brings to light the problem the House of Representatives, led by Nancy Pelosi, might have getting Obamacare passed again.

Two pieces I want to hightlight over at AmSpec.

How Murtha's Death Could Make It Harder to Pass a Health Care Bill

Obamacare Faces Tough Road in the House

Klein has been counting House votes and while it is not impossible for Pelosi to garner the votes needed to pass the newest version of Obamacare, it isn't a slam dunk that she can do it either.

But regardless of what happens at this week's superfluous summit, it’s difficult to see how Democrats cobble together enough votes to pass a final health care bill in the House.

Back in November, in a much better political environment for Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to muster only a narrow 220 to 215 majority in the House to pass its version of health care legislation. Since then, Rep. Joseph Cao, the one Republican who voted for the bill initially, has indicated he wouldn’t do so again because of objections to the abortion language. In addition, Florida’s Robert Wexler unexpectedly resigned, Rep. Neil Abercrombie announced plans to retire at the end of this month to run for governor of Hawaii and Rep. John Murtha passed away. Taken together, that brings Pelosi down to 216 votes -- which would be insufficient to pass a health care bill.

Pelosi needs 218 votes to get it passed.

Klein explains why Pelosi might have trouble picking up votes from Democrats that voted no on the original House bill:

The problem with this analysis is that even if one were to accept the fact that jamming through a massive and highly unpopular piece of legislation could be a political winner for the Democratic Party as a whole, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily good for each individual Democratic member of Congress. This is especially true for the Democrats who hold seats in conservative districts. While some liberals have noted that the failure of Hillarycare didn’t save Blue Dog Democrats in 1994, in that year, the bill never came to an actual vote on the House floor. By contrast, last year 39 Democrats went on the record and voted against the House bill. They will be in a much stronger place to counter any Republican attacks by holding firm in their opposition than if they flip and support the bill at the behest of Obama and Pelosi. A deeper look at votes by Congressional district makes this even more apparent.

Of the 39 Democrats who voted against the House health care bill, 31 of them were elected in districts that went for John McCain in 2008, according to a TAS analysis. One of the Democratic “no” votes, Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama, has subsequently switched parties. Given that a Republican who campaigned on being a vote against the health care bill was just elected to fill the Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy in a state that went for Obama by 26 points, it’s hard to see why anybody in a McCain district who already voted "no" would decide switch their vote to “yes.”

While Obama won the districts of the remaining eight “no” votes, in six cases, he won by only single digits, making them potentially competitive races this time around. And a closer look at several members who represent these areas are not very encouraging to proponents of Obamacare.

Head over to see the examples of what he is referring to.