Cantor: We can flip Democrats on ObamaCare

posted at 1:36 pm on January 6, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Via The Corner, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor publicizes a memo bristling with optimism over the coming ping-pong tournament the Democrats will use in an attempt to pass ObamaCare before the State of the Union address.  Cantor makes the same point as I have over the last couple of weeks, which is that the Senate will have to get at least two cloture votes for every ping-pong attempt that comes to the upper chamber, and that any changes in a wildly-unpopular bill will undermine it.  But even before then, Cantor thinks he can get Democrats to oppose it in the House:

In order to pass a final bill, Democrat leaders cannot lose a single vote of the 60 they gained in the Senate, nor more than two of the 220 votes they gained in the House. To get their bill to this point, Democrat leaders have made a series of contradictory commitments and deals, each of which has the possibility of derailing a final bill. On the issue of abortion funding, for example, Senate Democrats have indicated that they cannot agree to the House-passed language, which continues a long-standing prohibition of federal funding of abortions. Meanwhile, many pro-life House Democrats who voted for the final House bill because of the fixed abortion language have indicated that the Senate-passed language is insufficient.

Cantor identifies various Democrats that will have issues with abortion language, but that’s probably only going to be secondary to some of the disparate treatment the states receive in the Senate bill:

While the House and Senate take different approaches to cutting funding for the Medicare Advantage program, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida inserted language in the Senate version of the bill that effectively ensures that seniors in Florida (and potentially a few other areas) will be protected from these cuts. Will these House Members, each of whom has a significant Medicare Advantage population in their district, vote for a final bill that cuts Medicare benefits for the seniors they represent, while seniors in Florida are protected from such cuts?

Eighteen Democrats have 19,000 or more Medicare enrollees in their districts, with percentages using MA going from 21% to 49%.  How will they explain to those constituents that they voted to cut their benefits while protecting the benefits of retirees in Palm, Dade, and Broward Counties in Florida?  Almost half of these Representatives come from Rust Belt states already hurting badly in the recession.

Meanwhile, will House Democrats from states facing enormous budget cuts vote to support Ben Nelson’s 100% subsidy on Medicaid while ObamaCare imposes massive new liabilities on their own states?

The National Conference of State Legislatures sent a letter to Congressional leaders in October asking for 100% funding by the federal government for any Medicaid expansion, stating, “A lesser commitment from the federal government would shift billions of costs to states and would have serious short- and long-term consequences for state budgets.”

Only one state, Nebraska – which is represented by Senator Ben Nelson, who provided the final vote necessary for Senate passage – received 100% federal funding for the cost of the Medicaid expansion. Three other states represented by critical Senate Democrats (Vermont, Massachusetts, and Louisiana) received additional funding, but not the full 100%. Every other state will be forced to finance a larger portion of the cost of the pending health care bill, including the costs of the preferential benefits for these four states.

Thirty states have cut spending for K-12 education for 2010. Will Members from these states support a final bill that requires their state to potentially make even deeper cuts to education in order to fund more of the health care bill than is being asked of states like Nebraska?

Can these issues be problematic enough to flip just two or three more Democrats into opposition?  I suspect that the elimination of the public option may be more of a hurdle with the  House progressives than these — but Cantor’s signal to the NRCC will not go unnoticed.  Any one of these Democrats voting to support a bill with these elements will have to answer these questions on the campaign trail, most likely with them being asked on TV spots flooding their districts.  If these Democrats feel comfortable about voting for them, they won’t feel comfortable facing town-hall events and answering the questions live back home.

Of course, the point of ping-pong in Congress is to change the bill, and some or all of these issues may get changed by the time it gets back to the Senate.  Nelson isn’t likely to vote against cloture to defend the subsidies he says he never requested, but he’s under so much heat at home that any change may give him enough political cover to torpedo the bill on final-vote cloture.  And he may not be alone.  With Dems retiring at a rapid pace, red-state Democrats like Blanche Lincoln and even Evan Bayh may have seen enough of ObamaCare.

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Rino Cantor couldn’t flip a pancake…he loves obama, he loves to cross the aisle

nondhimmie on January 6, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Cantor is a typical clueless conservative, taking everything at face value and as business as usual, missing the bigger picture. The point of the healthcare bill for the Obamacrats is fundamentally transforming America. It doesn’t matter the bill is unpopular. It still has at least around 40 percent support and they are putting everything in place to rig the midterm elections. There is no way this bill is not going to get pushed through by any means necessary. Cantor’s attempts at deal making will only compromise Republicans.

modifiedcontent on January 6, 2010 at 5:17 PM

What he misses is that he may flip one dem, but they will flip two Republicans….
And they call him flipper, flipper,…..

right2bright on January 6, 2010 at 5:47 PM

bloggless on January 6, 2010 at 1:48 PM

They don’t answer the phone…Kay Hagen is about as dumb as Boxer, maybe “stupider”….

right2bright on January 6, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Sherrod Brown is saying that the Nebraska bribe will be stripped from the bill. Where will that leave Ben Nelson?

ctmom on January 6, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Then why didn’t Brown vote against cloture with the Nelson bribe in the bill? He had his chance, and blew it.

Steve Z on January 6, 2010 at 7:14 PM

Cantor is about as trustworthy as Lindsey Graham.

mobydutch on January 6, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Feinstein – Boxer – Waxman. I win. :)

Blake on January 6, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Yep, your Feinstein/Boxer/Waxman *juUust* beats my Feinstein/Boxer/Harman. You win! :-)

Mary in LA on January 6, 2010 at 8:22 PM

Sorry about the capital U. Can’t help it — I’m a capitalist.

Mary in LA on January 6, 2010 at 8:23 PM

Let’s try a different perspective here. You are now entering the dhimmicrap zone.
The dhimmicraps in congress voted as a block to pass O’sbowmao care.
STOP. Read that last line again.
I don’t care if they all run off to become missionaries in the congo, THEY MUST BE RUN OUT OF TOWN!!!!!
All of them, every last dhimmicrap has got to go. (I’d be eternally grateful if we could lose the rinos but get real some of ’em are really slippery)
So what if now they vote against the senate version, they vote against the house version. DOESN’T MATTER. They drew the line in the sand. I know you’ve heard ‘Remember the Alamo’. But what y’all don’t know is where it was said first:
The battle at Goliad. That was the counter strike by Sam Houston. Santa Ana was driven like a donkey all the way back to Mexico.
ObowmaoCare is our Alamo 2010. NOW what are you going to do about it?

Blacksmith8 on January 6, 2010 at 9:22 PM


’ll see yer AssClowns and raise you a Klobachar and a Franken.

BigWyo on January 6, 2010 at 1:48 PM

And I’ll raise *you* a Feinstein and a Boxer.

Mary in LA on January 6, 2010 at 2:29 PM

I’m sorry, I have Maxine Waters and Sheila Jackson-Leigh. I think that settles it.

virgo on January 7, 2010 at 12:22 AM

I’m sorry, I have Maxine Waters and Sheila Jackson-Leigh. I think that settles it.

virgo on January 7, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Aw hell, I fold! :-)

Mary in LA on January 7, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Jedi mind tricks…BO meets the offended senators and tells them “you don’t mind that we bribed Nelson, you will vote for Obamacare anyway, you can move on…”

Ltlgeneral64 on January 8, 2010 at 4:47 PM

All you Louisiana people out there…if you have any interest go to:

They have started a petition to recall Mary L. I think every state should think about doing this. If I don’t do my job I can get fired at a moment’s notice…why not be able to remove an elected official if they lie through their teeth to get elected…hummm

Ltlgeneral64 on January 8, 2010 at 5:00 PM