Twitter’s hopping with rumors about vote-wrangling and backroom deals so I figured you guys could use a thread to exchange information. Just within the past half hour, Politico’s heard whispers from the Democratic leadership that they’ve reached 218. Debate on Stupak’s amendment to strip abortion funding from the bill is coming up, followed by a vote on that and then — sometime between nine and eleven p.m. — the big vote on PelosiCare itself. If you’re watching this all play out on C-SPAN (either on TV or online), keep your eye on Republicans demanding a promise from Pelosi that if Stupak’s amendment passes, it won’t later be dropped in the conference committee with the Senate. The Democrats have been coy about that thus far.

Updates will appear below as warranted. In the meantime, here’s Paul Ryan trying to rally the troops, apparently to no avail. Exit question via Karl: Should the GOP vote “present” on Stupak’s amendment instead of voting for it? Think strategically.

Update: The office of the GOP whip says 33 Democrats will vote no. 41 is the magic number.

Update: If you’re looking for reasons to hope, remember that Pelosi also thought she had 218 when TARP first came to the House floor for a vote last year. That went down in flames, only to be resuscitated a week later.

Update: Here’s a fun thought: What if the bill passes 218-217 … and Bill Owens casts the deciding vote? Dude.

Update: Locker-room pep talk, Obama style:

In listing their legislation they have passed to this point, the president told them, “You did this without any help from the other side,” complaining Republicans have been “saying ‘no,’ stopping progress, gumming up the works was their preferred strategy.”

“Are we going to stop now, or push forward?” Obama asked.

“Push forward,” a dozen or so Democrats shouted back.

“I’m absolutely confident we’ll get this thing done,” Obama told the group. “And when I’m in the Rose Garden signing a piece of legislation to give health care to all Americans, we’ll look back and say that was our finest moment.”

Update: Cantor says there are 35 Democratic no’s. It’ll be razor thin.

Update: At 10 p.m. ET, the vote on Stupak’s anti-abortion amendment is finally on. Stand by. As I write this, it’s 73/90 against passage.

Update: The vote on the amendment is 236/190 as I write this, which is bad news. Not only is there no guarantee that the amendment will survive the conference committee with the Senate (or a Supreme Court challenge, natch), but this gives pro-life Blue Dogs the cover they need to vote for the final bill. It’s going to pass. Sigh.

Update: A smart minority party would have voted present and made the Dems choke on it. Alas, this is our minority party:

“We believe in the sanctity of life, and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment addresses a moral issue of the utmost concern. It will limit abortion in the United States. Because of this, while we strongly and deeply oppose the underlying bill, we decided to stand with Life and support Stupak-Pitts.

“The danger of this bill passing without critical pro-life language was too great a risk to do otherwise. Indeed, a number of Democrat supporters of Stupak-Pitts had privately indicated to many of our colleagues that all they needed for “cover” was a vote, and they would support final passage even if the amendment failed.

“To be clear, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment’s passage is the right thing to do. We believe you just don’t play politics with life.

“When this bill is conferenced with the Senate, the pro-life majority in the House of Representatives must ensure that this important amendment is in the final legislation. If it does not, this same strong majority must defeat the bill.”

Update: It’s 10:45 ET and it looks like the final vote is coming within the next 15 minutes. I held out hope this morning that we might get a humpbot cameo tonight, but it looks like we’re in for an appearance by the melting bunny of death instead. Heart-ache.

Update: My prediction for the final vote, as of 10:52: 224-211.

Update: It was closer than I thought: 220-215, 39 Dems voting no and a solitary Republican — Joe Cao, who replaced “Dollar Bill” Jefferson in a blue district in Louisiana — voting yes. Take heart, righties: Reid is incompetent, which makes the likelihood of 60 votes in the Senate, especially after a vote this narrow, very slim indeed.

But for now, we grieve.


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