Democrats are using the nuclear option to try to ram their government takeover of health care through the Senate. The fate of that legislation may come down to a dozen or so members of the House of Representatives opposed to government-funded abortions. Right now, the vote in the House couldn’t be more closely divided.
The original version of the bill passed the House in November by a narrow 220 to 215 margin. Since then, three Democratic supporters have left Congress through retirement or death. A fourth, Rep. Eric Massa, New York Democrat, is reportedly resigning today because of charges that he sexually harassed a junior male staffer. The lone Republican who supported the bill has seen the light and switched his vote. All told, if no one else switches votes, the vote count stands at215 in favor and 216 against.
Intrade - the prediction markets that have proved so accurate in forecasting everything from election outcomes to who is going to win “American Idol” - shows that as of Friday morning, the odds of the health takeover getting passed are about 50-50.
According to Associated Press, nine of the 38 Democrats who voted against the health care takeover in November now are undecided. (A 39th became a Republican.)Three Democrats have announced they are retiring and thus don’t have to worry about angering voters and losing their seats. The six other Democrats were Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia, Rep. Suzanne Kosmas of Florida, Rep. Frank Kratovil of Maryland, Rep. Michael McMahon of New York, Rep. Scott Murphy of New York and Rep. Glenn Nye of Virginia. Several lawmakers have declined to state their position.
That comes to a total of 12 votes that are up in the air. Offsetting that, Rep. Bart Stupak, Michigan Democrat, announced last week that 12 House Democrats would not go along with the Senate bill that allows government funding for abortion. On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi betrayed the problem abortion provisions pose for passage. “Let me say this: This is not about abortion!” a clearly irritated Mrs. Pelosi claimed.
In the meantime, Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah Democrat, switched from being against the bill to undecided. But don’t worry, the congressman and the White House assure us that Mr. Matheson’s flip-flop has nothing to do with the almost simultaneous announcement that President Obama was nominating Mr. Matheson’s brother to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
With the vote hanging by a razor-thin margin, expect Mr. Obama to hammer out a few more backroom deals with wavering Democrats. This battle is not over. The president and his henchmen will use every Chicago-style tactic they know to ram through a government power grab against the will of the American people.