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Dems still scraping for health reform votes

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) is in the habit of not only saying the health care bill is going to pass but pumps her statements up with phrases such as how “exhilarated“ she is by the idea of passing health care reform or saying that the bill will be signed by the president, who delayed his trip to Indonesia to be around for such an occasion, within “ten days.” Such proclamations put pressure on everyone involved, particularly those Democrats voting “no” or who are sitting on the fence.

Bob Cusack over at The Hill, though, has an interesting take on the current breakdown of Democrat House members and their votes Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs to capture for her party’s health care bill to finally pass. Her battle to change the minds of House Democrats who are voting “no” while maintaining those Democrat members who originally voted “yes” is not going to be as easy as the Speaker pronounces in her statements. Writes Cusack:

Pelosi is clearly down in the vote count. Thirty-four House Democrats are either firm no votes or leaning no, according to The Hill’s whip list. Dozens more are undecided.

The list of Democratic members who haven’t committed ranges widely, from liberal Reps. Michael Capuano (Mass.) and Anthony Weiner (N.Y.) to centrist Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.) and Chris Carney (Pa.).

Two committee chairmen — Reps. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) — say they are firm nos and three others, Reps. John Spratt (D-S.C.), Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), are undecided.

If every House member votes and all Republicans reject the bill as expected, Pelosi can only afford 37 Democratic defections. That breakdown of the votes would lead to a 216-215 tally.

Of the 34 no votes/leaning no votes, eight of them backed the House-backed bill in November. Meanwhile, nine Democrats who voted no last fall are publicly on the fence.

Not exactly flowers and puppies ahead for the Democrats, but the Republicans have as much to defend themselves making sure that no member within their party falls off the reservation this time around.

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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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