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New Health Care Whip Count: 191 Yes, 195 No, and a Major Update

My last whip count can be found here. Since then, in the absence of language, we’ve had few changes:

• Charlie Melancon, a Blue Dog who is leaving the House for an ill-fated Senate run against David Vitter, is a no on the bill, according to my sources. He has criticized the comprehensive approach as recently as a week ago, and he voted against the House bill previously, so this is no surprise.

• As I mentioned earlier today, Dale Kildee left the Stupak bloc and flipped to yes on the bill.

• Joe Donnelly confirmed himself as a member of the Stupak bloc.

• I’m going to put Solomon Ortiz and Baron Hill in the “undecided” camp. They haven’t made any public statements, but they are being publicly targeted by both sides and are rumored to be part of the Stupak bloc.

Put that all together, and you’re at 191 yes, 195 no. I’ll break down the numbers on the flip. But first, there’s this important update, via Jon Walker.

Senate Republicans have basically signaled that they will not play ball on any attempt to use reconciliation to change the abortion language. That’s the meaning of their letter to Harry Reid, pledging to unite to block any effort to waive a point of order on the Byrd rule:

In that regard, to endeavor to ensure that the reconciliation process is not used to fast-track an unpopular bill through Congress, we wish to inform you that we will oppose efforts to waive the so-called Byrd Rule during Senate consideration of any reconciliation bill concerning health reform. The Byrd Rule, as you know, was created by Senator Byrd to ensure that reconciliation bills were not used to enact policy changes, the primary purpose of which is not specifically related to the federal budget. As it takes 60 votes to waive the Byrd Rule, we can ensure that any provision that trips the Byrd Rule will be stripped from the bill, which will require that the bill be sent back to the House for further consideration and additional votes.

As you may know, the Catholic bishops floated a plan to waive points of order for changes to the abortion language. Senate GOPers are basically proclaiming that strategy dead. And Stupak himself has dismissed the idea a “third bill” after health care is completed, because he would lose all his leverage over the bill at that point.

This does effectively make the Stupak dilemma unsolvable. The language cannot change from the Senate language, essentially, and Stupak won’t go for that. The House will have to go around Stupak, because they can’t go through him. The path to passage just got a lot harder, because Democrats would basically have to retain every non-Stupak bloc Yes vote and pick up around 10-12 former No votes, a herculean task to say the least.

Details on the whip count on the flip. . . .

Definite YES:
191 Democrats.

Definite NO:
177 Republicans.

Definite NO:
18 Democrats.

17 Democrats who voted No in November:
Bobby Bright, Mike McIntyre, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Walt Minnick, Artur Davis, Chet Edwards, Frank Kratovil, Mike Ross, Dan Boren, Gene Taylor, Larry Kissell, Dennis Kucinich, Collin Peterson, Ike Skelton, Jim Marshall, Mike McMahon, Charlie Melancon.

1 Democrat who voted Yes in November:
Mike Arcuri.

21 potential Democratic No-Yes flip votes

14 possible:
Jason Altmire, Bart Gordon, Glenn Nye, Brian Baird, John Tanner, Rick Boucher, Allen Boyd, John Boccieri, Suzanne Kosmas, Betsy Markey, John Adler, Scott Murphy, Lincoln Davis, Jim Matheson.

6 less possible:
Travis Childers, Harry Teague, Heath Shuler (severe lean no), John Barrow, Tim Holden, Ben Chandler.

25 potential Yes-No flip votes:

11 Stupak bloc:
Bart Stupak, Jerry Costello, Charlie Wilson, Kathy Dahlkemper, Joe Donnelly, Joseph Cao (R), Steve Driehaus, Brad Ellsworth, Marion Berry, Marcy Kaptur, Dan Lipinski.

13 other wary Democrats:
Zack Space, Chris Carney, Mike Doyle, Paul Kanjorski, Ann Kirkpatrick, Alan Mollohan, Nick Rahall, Dan Maffei, Bill Owens, John Spratt, Dennis Cardoza, James Oberstar, Baron Hill, Solomon Ortiz.

CommunityThe Bullpen

New Health Care Whip Count: 191 Yes, 195 No And a Major Update

My last whip count can be found here. Since then, in the absence of language, we’ve had few changes:

• Charlie Melancon, a Blue Dog who is leaving the House for an ill-fated Senate run against David Vitter, is a no on the bill, according to my sources. He has criticized the comprehensive approach as recently as a week ago, and he voted against the House bill previously, so this is no surprise. (UPDATE: more corroborating information. Melancon’s a no.)

• As I mentioned earlier today, Dale Kildee left the Stupak bloc and flipped to yes on the bill.

• Joe Donnelly confirmed himself as a member of the Stupak bloc.

• I’m going to put Solomon Ortiz and Baron Hill in the “undecided” camp. They haven’t made any public statements, but they are being publicly targeted by both sides and are rumored to be part of the Stupak bloc.

Put that all together, and you’re at 191 yes, 195 no. I’ll break down the numbers on the flip. But first, there’s this important update, via Jon Walker.

Senate Republicans have basically signaled that they will not play ball on any attempt to use reconciliation to change the abortion language. That’s the meaning of their letter to Harry Reid, pledging to unite to block any effort to waive a point of order on the Byrd rule:

In that regard, to endeavor to ensure that the reconciliation process is not used to fast-track an unpopular bill through Congress, we wish to inform you that we will oppose efforts to waive the so-called Byrd Rule during Senate consideration of any reconciliation bill concerning health reform. The Byrd Rule, as you know, was created by Senator Byrd to ensure that reconciliation bills were not used to enact policy changes, the primary purpose of which is not specifically related to the federal budget. As it takes 60 votes to waive the Byrd Rule, we can ensure that any provision that trips the Byrd Rule will be stripped from the bill, which will require that the bill be sent back to the House for further consideration and additional votes.

As you may know, the Catholic bishops floated a plan to waive points of order for changes to the abortion language. Senate GOPers are basically proclaiming that strategy dead. And Stupak himself has dismissed the idea a “third bill” after health care is completed, because he would lose all his leverage over the bill at that point.

This does effectively make the Stupak dilemma unsolvable. The language cannot change from the Senate language, essentially, and Stupak won’t go for that. The House will have to go around Stupak, because they can’t go through him. The path to passage just got a lot harder, because Democrats would basically have to retain every non-Stupak bloc Yes vote and pick up around 10-12 former No votes, a herculean task to say the least.

Details on the whip count on the flip: (more…)

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