Whip count from “The Hill”: Everything depends on Stupak; Update: Stupak reaches deal with White House; Update: Eight or nine to vote yes; Update: Obama releases draft of executive order
posted at 3:22 pm on March 21, 2010 by Allahpundit
I thought for sure that Lincoln Davis and John Tanner voting no meant that Pelosi had made it and was now releasing vulnerable Dems, but it ain’t so.
Your move, Mr. Stupak.
If every member votes, Democratic leaders can only afford 37 defections. According to The Hill’s whip list, there are 39 Democrats planning to vote no.
Furthermore, The Hill also has eight Democrats in the undecided/unclear column: Reps Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), Alan Mollohan (W.Va.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), Mike Quigley (Ill.), Bobby Rush (Ill.) and Loretta Sanchez (Calif.)…
Some believe there are a few lawmakers on The Hill’s Firm No, Leaning No, Likely No list who could vote yes, including Reps. Marion Berry (Ark.), Rick Boucher (Va.) and Mike McMahon (N.Y.) and perhaps others.
The problem for Pelosi is that is she gets Stupak on board, she may lose abortion rights legislators, such as Rep. Mike Quigley (Ill.).
CNN reported via Twitter that Pomeroy is a yes. Obviously the whip count is good news, but look: The liberals seem to be willing to agree to some sort of sham executive order on abortion to placate Stupak, and the Stupakers clearly do want to vote for this thing. In fact, Jon Ward of the Daily Caller caught this scene on the House floor within the last 90 minutes:
If my observation of Steny Hoyer’s interaction with Bart Stupak just now on the House floor is any indication, Stupak looks very much like a yes.
Stupak walked over to Mike Doyle, Pennsylvania Democrat, the liaison between leadership and pro-life Democrats. Moments later, Hoyer walked over.
Hoyer asked a question, listened to Stupak talk for a few moments, and then gave a very animated and enthusiastic slap with his right hand on the Stupak’s left arm. Hoyer, smiling and nodding, patted him on the shoulder, and then put his hand on the back of Stupak’s neck.
After a few more moments of conversation, Hoyer slapped Doyle on the back, gave a thumbs up and walked away.
Keep calling, by all means, but calibrate your expectations accordingly. As for the timeline, it looks like the big vote will come after 6 p.m. but could be pushed later depending upon how much time they need for negotiations. If the bill passes, the GOP will move to recommit and a vote on their motion will follow. NBC thinks that could make for high drama if the motion includes something on abortion to pressure the Stupakers, but I find it impossible to believe anyone would flip so quickly after having just bitten the bullet to vote on the bill itself. After the vote on the motion to recommit, they move on to vote on the reconciliation fixes, but at that point it’s all academic.
Update: It’s 3:30 ET as I write this and Stupak’s set a presser for four. If the announcement’s more significant than “we’re still talking,” it’s probably to announce that they’re voting yes. Why announce a hard no hours before the vote when there’s still plenty of negotiation that could be done?
Update: Not sure what Drudge means by this, but it’s hail mary time:
FLASH: Senate Republicans found a provision in the new House health care bill that likely makes it ineligible for expedited ‘reconciliation’ procedures in the Senate. Dems refused to meet with GOP and Parliamentarian…. Developing….
Update: The pro-choicers are wrangling with the White House and Stupak about the executive order on abortion. Sounds like they’re willing to go for it if the language can be done just right. Why Stupak thinks Obama wouldn’t simply rescind the EO later is beyond me, but maybe he wants to vote for this thing so badly by now that he’s willing to simply kick this issue down the road to give himself cover.
Update: Politico says there’s a deal:
The White House and anti-abortion Democrats have reached an agreement to defusethe controversy over abortion in the health reform bill – planning a series of steps that will secure the support of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and other Democrats to give party leaders the votes they need to pass reform, sources tell POLITICO.
Under the agreement, President Barack Obama would sign an executive order ensuring that no federal funding will go to pay for abortion under the health reform plans. In addition, Stupak will get to state his concerns about abortion funding in the bill during a colloquy on the House floor during the debate.
And then, Stupak and several other Democratic hold-outs over abortion will sign on to the bill, the sources said…
Rep. Alan Mollohan, who is one of the votes in question, told POLITICO that the language in the agreement has already been essentially cleared. Mollohan said it is only a matter of time for “the follow-through steps” to be implemented.
So he caved for a wafer-thin executive order and a little floor time to praise life? Geez. Cheap date, Bart.
Update: The Hill hears there’s a deal too and says eight or nine will flip to yes. Rest assured, the final tally will still be 217-214. The question is which vulnerable Dems will now be allowed to flip to no.
“We’ve changed [our votes],” said Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio).
Driehaus said he’s seen the executive order and can now vote for the healthcare bill. He said Stupak has signed off, as well.
Update: Here’s the executive order that made ObamaCare possible.
Update: Andy McCarthy marvels at the irony:
I know we tire of the hypocrisy, but I really think this is remarkable. We spent the eight years through January 19, 2009, listening to Democrats complain that President Bush had purportedly caused a constitutional crisis by issuing signing statements when he signed bills into law. Democrats and Arlen Specter (now a Democrat) complained that these unenforceable, non-binding expressions of the executive’s interpretation of the laws Bush was signing were a usurpation Congress’s power to enact legislation…
[H]ow do we go from congressional Democrats claiming that signing statements were a shredding of the Constitution to congressional Democrats acquiescing in a claim that the president can enact or cancel out statutory law by diktat?
Update: Commenters are already talking up Dan Benishek, Stupak’s opponent in November. He won the last general election in his district by 30 points, but this race ain’t the last race, needless to say. Here’s Benishek’s Facebook page.