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The Stupak Half-Dozen?

The Hill quotes Bishop Stupak saying that his dozen supporters have narrowed to a half-dozen.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) says that “at least six” of his original “dozen” members are standing firmly against the Senate healthcare bill.

Following a 20-minute huddle on the House floor with a handful of the holdouts, Stupak told reporters that he has “not seen an executive order” that would have President Barack Obama ensure that federal funds would not go toward abortions so would not rule out supporting it […]

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) confirmed Stupak’s whip count of at least six holdouts.

The group met on the House floor as the presiding officer gaveled to recess while the president addressed Democratic lawmakers in the Captiol Visitors Center.

But, Stupak, Kaptur, Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper ( D-Pa.), Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio), Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.V.) and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.V.) continued to discuss the recent talk of an executive order.

Let me be very clear: if Stupak only has six members in his bloc, this is basically over. Democrats already hold 7 votes who flipped from No to Yes; Stupak’s 6 plus Joseph Cao, Lynch and Arcuri would equal 9, and if you do the math (I have) you get to 215. That would mean basically one more No to Yes flipper would put you over the top, and I simply believe that Pelosi could get that.

But I’m curious about the other purported members of the Stupak bloc. Four members in my count in the Stupak bloc are not represented in this article. They are:

Jerry Costello (D-IL), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Marion Berry (D-AR).

So what happened to them? Berry is retiring, so it’s somewhat plausible that he flipped. But Costello has been a firm no all week and he reiterated that as recently as Thursday. Donnelly’s nowhere to be found. As for Lipinski, read this article by Lynn Sweet and tell me he’s voting for the bill. I don’t see it.

Lipinski is another case. Lipinski told me he thinks he will pay no consequential price for a no vote on legislation Obama is staking his legacy on. “I don’t think this will have a significant impact on my career,” Lipinski said.

If he was looking to move up in leadership, a no vote could be problematic. “I don’t aspire to leadership,” he told me. He’s not looking for better committee assignments. The primary was Feb. 2, so Lipinski is immune from a challenge. And he can’t be messed with in the upcoming congressional district redistricting as long as ally House Speaker Micheal J. Madigan (D-Chicago) is in charge.

Dan Lipinski has been most influenced by a vote made by his father, former Rep. William Lipinski (D-Ill.), in 1993, against former President Bill Clinton’s deficit-reduction package — a must win, back then, for Clinton. The senior Lipinski was the only Illinois Democrat and one of 38 Democrats in Congress to say no to Clinton and he wasn’t punished and his son pointed out to me he went on to serve another decade on Congress with no punishment. Said Lipinski of his fathers’s no vote back then, “I think it served him well.”

It seems to me that the names in the Hill article are the ones more likely to flip, especially in the event of an executive order (more on that here). I could see Kaptur bowing to pressure and voting for the bill a lot faster than Lipinski. I could see Dahlkemper bolting well before Donnelly or Costello.

So I don’t really know what’s going on. It could be that Stupak’s six include the four not mentioned in this article, Joseph Cao, and himself. But if you take the Bishop at face value, he’s not likely to succeed.

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David Dayen

David Dayen