Well, maybe. This isn’t the reconciliation parallel bill, of course, because as Nancy Pelosi notes, we haven’t seen that yet, and neither has the CBO. This recalculates the CBO’s findings from December, and now they see more federal spending in the first 10 years and slightly less deficit reduction. However, the CBO still says that the Senate version — with its Cadillac tax and no public option, of course — will cut into the deficit by $118 billion in the first ten years, still thanks to delayed implementation of spending as opposed to revenues.
What impact will this have? Likely, none at all, since the final version of the bill would change significantly if the House stands firm on reconciliation. The real story from the CBO will come when they review that bill, and it will take at least a week for the CBO to do that analysis after the House actually writes it. Given the extensive changes demanded in the House on taxation, eligibility, and fees, it seems very likely that the CBO will have a much different outlook later in the month.
Meanwhile, The Hill has its eye on the whip counts, and while nothing is definite about passage or defeat as of yet, it’s not looking good for Pelosi. For the first time, the efforts to convince pro-life Democrats to support the bill shows signs of generating a backlash among progressives:
More than two dozen Democrats are expected to vote against the healthcare reform bill that will hit the House floor in the coming weeks.
At least 25 House Democrats will reject the healthcare reform legislation, according to a survey by The Hill, a review of other media reports and interviews with lawmakers, aides and lobbyists. Dozens of House Democrats are undecided or won’t comment on their position on the measure.
The 25 opposed include firm “no” votes and members who are likely “no” votes. Most Democrats on The Hill’s whip list are definitely going to vote no, but others, such as Reps. Lincoln Davis (Tenn.) and Harry Teague (N.M.), could vote yes.
However, The Hill has not yet put Democrats who are insisting on Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) language on abortion in the “no” category. Stupak has said there are 12 Democrats who supported the House bill in November who will vote no unless his anti-abortion-rights measure is melded into the final bill.
If leadership doesn’t make changes to the abortion language and Stupak does indeed have 12 votes in his pocket, it will be very difficult to pass a bill. Yet if they do change the provisions, supporters of abortion rights in the House will threaten to vote no.
In other words, it’s a mess. The Hill only lists two “firm yes” Representatives, Dale Kildee and Silvestre Reyes, the latter of whom got a key chair slot from Pelosi last year. They also list two as leaning yes, Russ Carnahan — who avoided being seen with Obama in Missouri yesterday, which isn’t a good sign — and Virginia’s Gerry Connolly, seen as a key bellwether vote. They list a whopping 78 undecided, all of whom would have to vote yes at this point to pass the bill.