Can Speaker Pelosi gather enough votes to force the health care monstrosity to the President’s desk? That’s the real question that will decide the fate of this whole health care battle. There are a number of good analysis of where the House stands today. Slate has this run down, and Timothy Noah concludes that the Speaker has an uphill battle ahead of her. He writes:
…when the bill passed the House quite narrowly, 220-215, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has lost three votes. John Murtha, D-Pa., died; Robert Wexler, D-Fla., resigned to become president of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation; and Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, resigned to run for governor. Balanced against these yeas is one nay, Nathan Deal, R-Ga., who just resigned effective March 8 to run for governor. That narrows health reform’s victory margin from five votes to three (217-214). …We will assume, then, that Pelosi starts with a victory margin of three.
Take away from that three Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich, and Joseph Cao, R-La. Stupak is the author of a House amendment on abortion that has the imprimatur of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops…
Stupak and Cao aren’t the only pro-lifers in the House who will change their vote from yea to nay if health reform doesn’t include the Stupak amendment.
Take away a dozen votes and the House health-reform bill fails by a 25-vote margin before the special elections (203-228). …
Pelosi needs to pick up a baker’s dozen votes to pass health reform. Where will she get them?
It’s heartening to read the specifics of how difficult it will be to get this bill through the House, but it shouldn’t make anyone comfortable: All that stands between the passage of a bill that will fundamentally reorder one-sixth of the U.S. economy is a dozen House votes. You can be sure that Congressional leaders and the President are doing everything they can to pressure Democrats leaning toward voting no to change their minds. We need to make sure that there is equal pressure coming from our side.