I have no idea where they’re getting these numbers — the highest guesstimate I’ve seen for either side is 208 — but we need some good news today. And this almost qualifies as news:
Urgent: Update on House vote tally
Per Pergram, Brandt-Capitol Hill
The new tally is 211 yeas to 220 nays. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) was a yes on the November bill and now is a no.
However, he has a meeting with the president later this afternoon.
In addition, the tally could switch again. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who was on the record last week as a no, is holding a presser at 1500 et outside the Capitol. We will be there.
Gutierrez, to the great surprise of no one, ended up choking on his threat to vote no over amnesty and confirmed that he’s a yes. So much for La Raza’s saber-rattling this morning. As much as we on the right grumble over the Blue Dogs being paper tigers when it comes time to break from the leadership, it’s an open question to me whether the progressives aren’t even worse. Gutierrez folded, completely predictably, when the White House called his bluff on immigration, and one liberal after another has utterly crumbled on their promise to vote no on a bill that doesn’t have a public option. I wonder if Pelosi is a genius at twisting arms or whether most Democrats are simply too gutless to stand on principle — Bart Stupak being a very glaring exception.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, R-New Orleans, to take a fresh look at the language on abortion in the Senate health care bill to see whether he could, in good conscience, support landmark health care legislation now days from a final vote.
Cao, the only Republican to vote for the health care bill in either the House or Senate, said he would take another look.
“He’s asked if I would restudy the Senate language and that I would approach it with an open mind. And I promised that I would go back and study the Senate language again,” Cao said after meeting with Obama in the Oval Office for about 10 minutes Wednesday.
Yeah, look. If they’re so hard up for votes that they’re begging a Republican to cast the deciding ballot on universal health care, they’re in seriously deep shinola. He voted yes in November because of Stupak’s amendment and because, after all, it wasn’t the final bill. Given the stakes this time and the lack of anti-abortion language, if he caves he’d get the mother of all primaries and then quite possibly have to contend with enraged conservatives donating to his Democratic opponent in the general just to punish him for his betrayal. He might as well switch parties, especially considering how blue his district is. Exit question: Is Cao really a softer target for The One than Altmire or Lynch?
Update: So much for optimism: Betsy Markey, who was a no in November, is a yes now. I said yesterday that the CBO score was likely to start the dominoes falling one way or another, and now maybe it has. Gird your loins.