Via Breitbart, a pitiful morale booster from Madam Speaker and not the first time she’s claimed to have the votes when she really didn’t. (See this AP story from last July, bearing in mind that the House bill didn’t pass until November. No wonder Rahm’s pressing her to hurry up.) Unless Stupak’s a brazen liar, he still has 12 Democrats ready to flip to no without an abortion fix; Joe Donnelly identified himself as one of them today. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Jim Marshall say they’re sticking with their no votes from November and, according to Red State, fully 23 Dems who voted yes last time are now undecided. In fact, some of the only movement from no to undecided is coming from Jim Matheson — the guy whose brother was just nominated by The One to be a federal appellate judge. The hard cold fact for lefties is that Pelosi doesn’t know how many votes she has and won’t know until she can give Stupak and the Blue Dogs some comfort that Reid will, really and truly, try to pass his reconciliation fix if they go first.
But does Reid have the votes? Maybe not, says Jon Kyl:
Kyl suggested that the GOP would have enough votes to sustain points of order they might raise against a bill sought under budget reconciliation rules to make changes to the original health bill to win over the votes of House Democrats.
“There are a lot of things they want to see fixed that are going to be subject to parliamentary point of order in the Senate,” Kyl said during an interview on Fox News. “And we believe we have the votes to sustain those points of order, which means that those things will come out of the legislation.”…
“It is a very risky proposition for those Democrats in the House who are nervous about their reelection, and are banking on the Senate banking them out,” he said. “It’s probably not going to happen.”
Translation: If you’re a House Democrat thinking of voting for Reid’s bill because it’ll be “fixed” to your liking later, think again. But here’s where things get complicated (er, more complicated). In order to pass an abortion fix and get Stupak on board, Reid has two options. He could try to pass a separate bill with the abortion language and then have Pelosi “merge” it with the original Senate bill and the reconciliation fix in the House to form one bill. That’s the “Slaughter strategy” we talked about last night. The problem there? He’d need 60 votes to pass it, which is unlikely even if the GOP votes for it. His other option, noted elsewhere by Karl and Jay Cost, is to try to add an abortion provision to the reconciliation fix, but that could be blocked by either Republicans or pro-choice Dems by raising a “point of order” as mentioned by Kyl. Once a point of order is raised calling for the abortion provision to be stripped out, it would take … 60 votes to overrule it, which, again, likely ain’t happening. This is why Stupak was so adamant yesterday about linking all the fixes together to the main Senate bill with a sort of legislative “tie-bar” and passing every at the same time. If they can’t come up with a way to do that for him, there’s close to zero chance that the Senate will vote for an abortion fix later no matter how Reid tries to do it. Which is another way of saying that if they can’t tie-bar it, he and his bloc can’t vote for ObamaCare.
Exit question: Since the left is all but pleading with Joe Biden to summarily overrule every obstacle in the path to getting this thing done, couldn’t he just strike any points of order raised that might block an abortion fix? Who cares if he has to break some rules or ignore the Senate parliamentarian to do it? If they’re willing to follow a strategy as shady and ruthless as Slaughter’s in the House, surely Greasy Joe can game things for them in the upper chamber.