Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Magic Number is 41

With a House vote (maybe) today on health care reform, and all the Republicans lined up to vote against it, Nancy Pelosi can lose 4o votes of her 259 seat majority and still pass the bill. The curent tally per Jim Geraghty at NRO is 22 Democrats who have said they will vote no, and 7 who seem poised to do so. 69 Democrats have recently expressed opposition to the bill.
The final vote may hinge on parliamentary maneuvers on two key issues. Pro choice Democrats want a prohibition on insurance funding for abortion. Hispanics fear a GOP amendment to bar undocumented workers from purchasing insurance. The House leadership will be busy making deals, right up until the final vote-- if it occurs this weekend.
The Democrats have to get the bill out this weekend; any more time allows more analysis, more polling, more angry phone calls from constituents to wavering Democrats. If there is no vote, or a "no" vote, this weekend, I call the bill dead.
Whatever the House passes will bear little resemblance to a final Senate bill; and the reconciliation process will give House Democrtas in marginal districts one more thing to worry about.
If Pelosi can't pass this, I expect a coup in the House leadership. Steny Hoyer is a smart guy. Obama will need someone to blame, and it will be hard to pin failure on 177 Republicans.

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