DeFazio flips from Yes to No

Say what you will about the ObamaCare debate, but it has had at least one effect — we’ve learned the names of a lot more Congressmen than in the past.  After Ohio’s John Boccieri flipped from a no to a yes this morning, Peter DeFazio of Oregon flipped the other way this afternoon, putting Nancy Pelosi another vote farther from getting 216 on Sunday:

Just when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed to be one vote shy of the 216 she needs for health care reform to pass, a Democrat who voted for the bill last year says he’s switching his vote to no.

The opposition from Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., dials back the number of House members leaning toward voting yes to 214, and the number leaning toward voting no to 217.

Good news?  Well, maybe.  DeFazio made the announcement but doesn’t exactly sound firm in his opposition.  While some are criticizing either insurers or abortion, DeFazio’s opposition comes down to a commitment to Medicare in rural communities:

DeFazio, who voted for the bill last year, complicated things for Democratic leaders. But he indicated he could still change his mind again.

“I’m a no unless they fix this,” he said, referring to what he sees as insufficient Medicare spending in rural areas.

As Republican as Boccieri’s district was, that’s how Democratic DeFazio’s is.  They haven’t sent a Republican to Congress since 1975.  Voters supported Barack Obama in 2008 by double digits, 54/43.  In DeFazio’s last election, he got over 80% of the vote.

That last part cuts both ways, of course.  Nancy Pelosi probably can’t threaten him if he balks at voting for ObamaCare.  It’s almost certainly too late for anyone to mount a serious primary bid against DeFazio.  If he holds out for a public option, his constituents will probably cheer rather than boo.

Still, I wouldn’t count DeFazio in the No column until he casts his vote.  That statement sounds more like an application to play “The Price is Right” than a principled stand against the bill.