Obama to give Dems earful on health care
President Obama has invited Democratic congressional members to the White House for a closed reception Wednesday evening that just happens to include 10 House members who voted “no” on the health care reform bill.
The reception — which was not on the president’s official schedule released by the White House — is ostensibly to thank members for their support in passing the “pay-as-you-go” legislation last month, which requires Congress to pay for projects it approves. (Oddly, the gala comes a day after the president signed into law a $10 billion unemployment package held up by Sen. Jim Bunning, Kentucky Republican, who demanded the government first find a way to pay for the bill.)
Mr. Obama will have ample time at the reception to press the “no” voters to reconsider their stance. As a pool report from a White House reporter noted Tuesday evening, all 31 invitees are Democrats and “quite a few are members of the House Blue Dog caucus, as to be expected.”
The House bill on health care reform, No. 3962, passed Nov. 7 by just five votes, 220-215. Even though Democrats held a 258-177 over Republicans at the time of the vote, 39 Democrats, many of them in the Blue Dog coalition, opposed the bill. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims she still has the votes to move the legislation forward, some “yes” voters are wavering in the face of constituent anger over the bill’s price tag.
The “no” voters invited to tonight’s gala are Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania; Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida; Rep. Lincoln Davis of Tennessee; Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota; Rep. Frank Kratovil Jr. of Maryland; Rep. Betsy Markey of Colorado; Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah; Rep. Scott Murphy of New York; Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina; and Rep. John Tanner of Tennessee.