Green Room

The Democrats’ New Map

posted at 5:42 am on February 28, 2010 by

Or, why I am not convinced that either Pelosi or Reid has the votes

The New York Times, of all venues, sculpts the slope the Democrats must scale to summit Mount Reconciliation:

Of the 219 Democrats who initially voted in favor of the House measure, roughly 40 did so in part because it contained the so-called Stupak amendment, intended to discourage insurers from covering abortion….

An additional 39, like Mr. Kratovil, are fiscal conservatives who voted no the first time around. Ms. Pelosi is hoping that she can get some to switch those no votes to yes in favor of Mr. Obama’s less expensive measure.

Let’s run some numbers, shall we?

The House version of ObamaCare — the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) — passed on November 7th last year in a vote of 220-215. Ordinarily, 218 Yeas are required to pass a bill in the House; but since that vote, three representatives have left Congress, one of them horizontally. With only 432 current members, the magic number for a majority is 217 (216 is only 50%, which is not a majority).

The three who left are all Democrats who voted for the House version of ObamaCare the first time around: retirees Robert Wexler (FL) and Neil Abercrombie (HI), and John Murtha (PA), who left feet first this month. In addition, Rep. Ahn “Joseph” Cao (R-LA, not yet rated), the only Republican to vote for the bill, has since repudiated that vote and says he will certainly vote against the Senate/reconciliation version of ObamaCare when that comes up for a vote. So Pelosi starts with only 216 of the necessary 217 votes.

We know for certain that unless the Senate agrees in advance to the Stupak Amendment, which bans any and all federal funding of abortion (and even funding of insurance carriers who pay for abortions), Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI, 90%) will also vote against it; he has too much “face” bound up in that prohibition to overlook it. I consider it virtually impossible that the Senate would agree to a Stupak Amendment, so that drops the number of Yeas to 215.

Thus the real question is this: Can Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%) bully enough Democratic former Nays to switch to Yeas so that the total will be two higher than the number of Yeas who switch to Nays? In other words, if 20 of the 40 Stupakers vote Nay on the Senate version, then Pelosi must scrounge up 22 representatives who voted Nay last time to vote Yea instead. Otherwise, she has less than the 217 needed.

Looking ahead, it’s hard to see why any representative who voted against ObamaCare before will be persuaded to vote for it this time: The cost differential between the House and Senate plans is negligible; the Senate version doesn’t include the “government option,” which the House Democrats liked; and in the meantime, voters have made their disgust with the government takeover of health care clear and vivid.

Scott Brown’s election to the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy scared the bejesus out of many representatives, especially those who represent districts that went to John McCain in the 2008 presidential election; many will try to innoculate themselves from the consequences of the last vote by turning thumbs down on ObamaCare this time.

The only real hope Pelosi has is with those Democrats who voted against the bill last year, but who have decided not to run for reelection this year. However, at the moment, there are only three: Reps. John Tanner (D-TN, 89%), Bart Gordon (D-TN, 89%), and Brian Baird (D-WA, 80%). Even if all of them switch, that brings the total only to 218; if two or more representatives flip the other way, from Yea to Nay — two out of the 40 who only voted for the bill because of the Stupak amendment, for example — then Pelosi falls short.

My back of the thumbnail estimate is that at least 20 of the 40 Stupakers vote Nay, while only two of the lame-duck Democrats go the other way (Tanner has already said he will not switch to Yea); that would land the Squeaker into a 200-232 deficit. An AP article confirms this:

In fact, Democrats following the legislation say House Democratic support for the legislation has sunk to 200 votes or less in recent weeks, following the stunning GOP victory in last month’s special Massachusetts Senate election and the bill’s modest showing in polls.

Where “modest showing” has the tendentious redefinition of “catastrophic collapse.” I would guess another five Democratic Yeas vote Nay when it becomes clear the votes aren’t there anyway; why go down with a sinking ship?

It’s hardly any better on the Senate side, where they must pass the “reconciliation” changes to the Senate bill that (they hope!) will keep some Democratic House members from desperately dog-paddling towards the shore. Majority Leader Harry “Pinky” Reid (D-Caesar’s Palace, 70%) is not doing very well, despite only needing a simple majority to pass the package:

Under the Democrats’ tentative plans, the House would pass the health care bill approved in December by the Senate, and both chambers would approve a separate package of changes using a parliamentary device known as budget reconciliation.

The tactic is intended to avoid a Republican filibuster, but in the Senate, the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, faces challenges if he tries to use it. He is having trouble persuading a majority of his caucus to go along.

Despite their gigantic majorities in both chambers, despite a still-personally popular Democratic president who has made this his make-or-break issue, Pelosi, Reid, and the Democratic leadership still can’t seem to round up enough Yeas to spit in the voters’ faces. Funny, isn’t it?

The calculus is fairly simple; AP quotes a couple of members of the House Democratic caucus explaining the problem:

“People who voted ‘yes’ would love a second bite at the apple to vote ‘no’ this time, because they went home and got an unpleasant experience” because of their votes, said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from Pennsylvania. “On the other hand,” he added, “I don’t know anybody who voted ‘no’ who regrets it….”

Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., said he chatted at the House gym Friday morning with fellow conservative Democrats and found that Obama’s session had produced no new momentum.

“I don’t think it made a nickel’s worth of difference,” he said, adding, “It’s fair to say the trend is going against the bill.”

I don’t believe that Scott Brown’s victory alone redrew the Democrats’ electoral map; but it definitely shone a spotlight upon it… and any Democrat who plans to run for reelection ignores it at his political peril.

Cross-posted on Big Lizards

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The Night of the Living Health Care Bill – When will this thing die? When will The O, Reid and Pelosi realize the wall is hard and stop beating thier heads against it.

And The O is not an ideologue? Right! He will go down in history as the worst POTUS. Wonder how he will deal with e GOP Congress.

EliTheBean on February 28, 2010 at 9:38 AM

voters have made their disgust with the government takeover of health care clear and vivid

For months I’ve been pointing out that the majority of the Democrats in both houses of Congress, led by Obama, are completely and willfully ignoring the wishes of the American voting public, and many of the pundits in the MSM have now started noticing this at last, and are calling it a suicide mission.

While the poll numbers are hugely against any form of government takeover of health care, at the same time the Dems have figured out from those numbers that this coming November is shaping up to be a typically historical midterm election with the party in power probably ending up being tossed on their ears due to voter dissatisfaction with their obvious power grab and spending spree.

Which, in and of itself, becomes the motivating factor for ramming through the health care, and possibly the cap & trade, bills. This is the last time for at least a decade that the Dems will have this big a majority in Congress with the White House as well. And once in place, nationalized health care in some small form will give them the toe in the door to expand on it in later years, ultimately achieving the big government control the Dems seek, Euro-style.

They, the Democrat ‘leadership’, literally don’t care what the short term costs will be in terms of careers, etc., because long term they have no other options if they want to remain a viable power broker Inside The Beltway in the future. They look at the decades long impact of FDR’s New Deal, and know without a doubt that government controlled health care will have 10 times the long term impact, and with the voting public turning more and more conservative it is literally the only option they can see for gettting the public hooked on someone else paying skyrocketing health bills. Once hooked, future generations of Americans will grow up with that being the ‘norm’, similar to what Greece is facing now. Which is why the MSM is playing down that disaster and the scandal ridden climate change issues. Keeping those fiascoes off the radar is the only way the progressive factions in the MSM can help the Dems get this short term agenda enacted.

It’s mind blowing Twilight Zone stuff, this obsession with absolute power that they have. The only thing that will save us now is for the American voting public to keep up the pressure and not let the Dems and the MSM succeed in fracturing the massive movement against big government control of our lives that has been building. That, and giving the Republicans the power to undo the damage that’s been done to-date.

KendraWilder on February 28, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Somebody needs to quote the Monty Python dead parrot speech…’Obamacare’ is nailed to the perch…

txmomof6 on February 28, 2010 at 9:57 AM

The Night of the Living Health Care Bill – When will this thing die? EliTheBean on February 28, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Never. Obama is past the point of no return. More bribes, lies, attacks – whatever it takes, with MSM’s total support.

rrpjr on February 28, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Senators are looking behind Reid at his numbers in Nevada and thinking why should they cut their own throats and ride off into the sunset with him and his dead horse. Loved the part about Obama’s plan being cheaper, too. (note to self, must get coffee stain off wallpaper.)

Kissmygrits on February 28, 2010 at 10:18 AM

These fools are so caught up in their collectivist ideology that they’re neglecting everything else. So far they’ve wasted a whole year while the economy is in freefall and prospects for us going back to work aren’t improving. In fact, they’re getting worse as business owners wait to see what kind of noose they’re going to get strangled with.
The health care takeover isn’t the only economy killer the communists are working on either. Cap and tax is flying under the radar while our attention is focused elsewhere.

single stack on February 28, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Excellent analysis.

ladyingray on February 28, 2010 at 11:05 AM

This bill is dead. The only thing keeping it alive is Barry’s ego. It may take several weeks before REALITY sinks into the minds of Barry, Pelosi and Reid.

While their ‘Health Care Reform” bill has been rejected by a majority of the public; any attempt to pass it via reconciliation will really piss people off. Do the Democrats really want to do that?

GarandFan on February 28, 2010 at 11:08 AM

“Stupakers vote Nay”

Won’t it be ironic when the murder of millions of unborn children will ultimately cause the death of a bill called health care reform.

Rovin on February 28, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Won’t it be ironic when the murder of millions of unborn children will ultimately cause the death of a bill called health care reform.

Ironic. Poetic Justice. Call it what ever you want, but unfortunately the fat lady hasnt officially sung yet.

Dont you all think that Pelosi and Dingy dont already know that they dont have the votes ? In fact, they should have known/guessed this right after Scott Brown’s victory.

What this tells me is that all this while, they have already started bribing and cajoling spineless and corruptocrat Dims – and they will continue this process until they can stiffarm enough wusses to get along. People who are surely going to lose elections could easily be promised jobs in liberal think tanks and lobbyist jobs on K Street. After all DC is a town full of whores – and i am talking only about the politicians.

Pelosi, Reid have invested WAY TOO MUCH already and it would be a crushing defeat for them if they could not even get a simple majority to get along with this boondoggle.

This is exactly why the bill is not dead.. YET. Nancy Pelosi and Dingy Harry may well go down as the most despised and loathed majority leader/speaker combo EVER.

nagee76 on February 28, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Won’t it be ironic when the murder of millions of unborn children will ultimately cause the death of a bill called health care reform.
Rovin on February 28, 2010 at 11:43 AM

The demise of this peutrid HCR will be all the sweeter if abortion ends up causing its final gasp.

I hope the thought of all those babies born alive that Obama had no problem tossing into laundry rooms to die a cold lonely death will haunt his dreams at night.

marybel on February 28, 2010 at 12:28 PM

While their ‘Health Care Reform” bill has been rejected by a majority of the public; any attempt to pass it via reconciliation will really piss people off. Do the Democrats really want to do that?

@GrandFan, many people have asked the exact same question – do these idiots really want to do this ? And YET this thing is not officially dead.

Andy McCarthy at NRO has a good piece on how this so called “reform” is more than losing or winning an election cycle for the Donkeys – it is about the party of Big Government gaining more power over the lives of individuals than ever before.

They may have not got the public option -so they are now trying to create conditions where private insurance companies will become less viable as time goes on – look at what is happening to the individual health insurance market in California – it is literally collapsing before our own eyes with skyrocketing premium increases.

The whole point of this exercise is to eliminate private insurance and make this country go single payer – why would they want to give this up now ?

I pray to God that the Senate Parliamentarian is an honest guy who will not allow Democrap shenanigans in the Senate. And i hope that the Stupak group stays together. They alone can kill this bill.

nagee76 on February 28, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Don’t you just love the way the titles of these bills lie about what is contained within … ‘Affordable’ yeah sure.

How about we rename them all — Bankrupting America In One Easy Step.

tarpon on February 28, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Maybe this will help

How to kill a vampire
There are lots of myths and legends as to what will kill a vampire. I’m going to tell you some of the things you might try if you ever come up against one of these undead creatures of the night.

*Stake them through the heart with a sharpened piece of wood (if you can get that close) This will kill pretty much anything, so be careful, you wouldn’t wanna accidentally stake dad or your SO. Keep plenty of pencils around for close combat!

*Hold up a cross to defend yourself (and hope it scares them off) Of course, a cross only works if you have faith, and not on all vamps.

*Throw holy water on them (and pray they don’t find it refreshing) If you can find somewhere to get holy water from in the first place. Alternately, you could drink holy water every day, so when they bite you, you’ll be contaminated.

*Light them on fire (and hope they die before they get hold of you) Keep that Zippo and lighter fluid handy! Or do the ol’ lighter and hairspray trick.

*Expose them to sunlight (providing it’s daytime) Better move at light-speed to get those curtains open! Or keep some sun lamps hooked to a clapper in your room.

*Expose them to garlic (of course, that much garlic will probably impede your social life anyway)

*Cut off their head (if you’re fast enough, strong enough, and just happen to carry around a sword or axe) Hopefully you get the kind that turns to dust, or that’s gonna be really messy.

*Distract them with seeds (supposedly they’re OCD about counting stuff, maybe you can keep them out ’til morning) Be aware, people are gonna think you’re a nutcase if you pour poppy seeds on your doorstep.

*Become a slayer (I’m sure there’s a Slayer Training Camp near you) It only takes special powers, years of study and training, and a good-looking British librarian type. You can do it!

EliTheBean on February 28, 2010 at 2:35 PM

here’s something else that will keep some Dem “yay” votes as “yays”. for example, in VA 5th CD, our freshman Dem Congressman Perriello voted Yay (& he also voted for cap ‘n trade). we are a rural district, Perriello only won by 757 & it should be likely that he could be defeated.

BUT, we have 7 people running for the Republican nomination. the TEA party people are saying, if they lose the primary, they will not support the Republican candidate.

so Perriello, & maybe there are others like him, see the field of challengers fighting with each other. it only helps the Dems.

kelley in virginia on February 28, 2010 at 3:42 PM

… And once in place, nationalized health care in some small form will give them the toe in the door to expand on it in later years, ultimately achieving the big government control the Dems seek, Euro-style.

The fatal flaw in this vision, is, in order to fudge the CBO cost estimates, ObamaCare doesn’t start providing any benefits for four years. The pain, however, starts immediately. The Catastrophe Health Care Act had the same kind of flaw, for the same reason, and was repealed in eighteen months.

Additionally, a lot of the outrage is over the power grab ObamaCare represents, as well as the cost, and the damage it will do to people’s existing coverage, that they are happy with.

LarryD on March 1, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Wonder how he will deal with e GOP Congress.

EliTheBean on February 28, 2010 at 9:38 AM


belad on March 1, 2010 at 12:47 PM

The Night of the Living Health Care Bill – When will this thing die?

I’m glad BO is bashing his head against this wall…

urbancenturion on March 2, 2010 at 11:05 AM

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