How long would it take you to read a 1990-page book? If it was an extended version of Stephen King’s The Stand, perhaps most of us could get it done in a couple of weeks, if we turned off the TV and ignored our families. It would be about the same as reading most of the last three Harry Potter novels in one stretch, to give a sense of proportion.
Now imagine that the 1990 pages consists of legalese, tax hikes, government mandates on states and health-care insurers and providers. Do you think you could get that read with any level of comprehension necessary to cast an educated vote in just eight days?
House Democratic leaders are pushing for a Saturday vote on their sweeping health-care bill, but they are struggling to win over shaky rank-and-file members who could hold up its passage.
Democrats tacked new provisions onto the legislation late Tuesday, clearing one of the final hurdles for bringing the bill to the floor. One of the additions would raise $24 billion for the bill by eliminating a biofuels tax break for pulp and paper companies. Another would place tighter restrictions on insurance companies to prevent them from increasing consumers’ premiums without cause.
But the changes didn’t resolve sharp differences among Democrats over how the bill handles funding for abortion, with some saying they won’t support the legislation until it addresses their concerns. Republican victories in two gubernatorial elections Tuesday night are also making some wavering members uneasy about voting for a $1.055 trillion bill.
As of Wednesday, House leaders didn’t appear to have secured the 218 votes they need to pass the bill. They were moving to quickly swear in two Democrats elected Tuesday, which would give the party 258 seats in the House and allow leaders to lose as many as 40 Democratic votes without losing their majority. No Republicans are expected to vote for the bill.
The big question for Pelosi will be the Blue Dog Democrats. Perhaps she thinks that pushing through a quick vote on her just-released version of ObamaCare will distract the moderates from learning the lesson of the elections this week. However, the rush is more likely to create greater skepticism, especially since Pelosi keeps changing the bill. How many of them want to suddenly back big spending and massive government control after watching Barack Obama lose New Jersey by five points — a state he won just a year ago by 15?
Pelosi, of course, sees the momentum slipping away — and it has because Democrats have been forced to slow down. Pelosi wanted to jam this down the House’s throat in July, but only a national outcry stopped the runaway statist train long enough for people to understand the stakes. She’s trying it again, but now Blue Dogs understand the stakes a little better.
We need another national outcry. We’ll be doing a Melt the Phones segment today on TEMS at 3 pm ET, where viewers call their Congressional offices on the air to tell their Representatives to oppose ObamaCare. Be sure to bring your Representative’s office number to the show, and we’ll make sure your voices are heard.