The chant from the GOP cloakroom late this afternoon was “Yes We Can!” Republicans are now seven votes short of defeating the Democratic Party’s health care reform bill. The most current vote count has 209 lawmakers voting no while 204 will be voting yes. All 178 House Republicans are in oppostion, including Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), who did not vote with his party the last time. There are also 28 Democratic no votes.
This means the GOP needs just seven votes from the 18 undecided lawmakers in order to win. The Democrats are able to promise government projects to these lawmakers while the GOP has nothing to offer. The only thing the Republicans have is the weight of public opinion.
Everyone is waiting for the CBO score which was expected this afternoon. It has to be released tonight or early tomorrow inorder to have it considered for 72 hours before the vote. The Preisdent hopes to sign the bill on Saturday before his trip to Indonesia.
The House Republican Whip, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), has done an outstanding job in working with outside groups. The latest developments are as follows:
* Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN) voted no the last time and he confirmed today that he is not changing his position. Davis spoke to the President and says he does not want Obama to campaign in his rural district.
* Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) voted against the bill the last time but for all the wrong reasons. He is a big advocate of the public opiton. He publicly announced his support today of the Democratic plan, and last week he flew with the President on Air Force One to a rally just outside his district.
* The most recent announcements have come from Reps. John Adler (D-NJ), Mike Arcuri (D-NY), John Barrow (D-GA) and Marion Berry (D-AR), and they are all expected to vote no. Republicans also expect Glenn Nye (D-VA) to vote no, but he has not made a public announcement. He met with Speaker Pelosi yesterday.
* The other Democrats who voted No last November include: Bobby Bright, Mike McIntyre, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Walt Minnick, Artur Davis, Chet Edwards, Frank Kratovil, Mike Ross, Dan Boren, Gene Taylor, Larry Kissell, Collin Peterson, Ike Skelton, Jim Marshall, Mike McMahon, Charlie Melancon, Tim Holden, Ben Chandler, Health Shuler, Rick Boucher and Allen Boyd.
* There are 5 pro-life Democrats who voted Yes in November, but may vote no now because of the abortion issue. They are being referred to as the Stupak bloc: Bart Stupak, Dan Lipinski, Kathy Dahlkemper, Joe Donnelly and Steve Driehaus. Other pro-life Democrats who have mentioned abortion as a major consideration are Brad Ellsworth, Jerry Costello, Henry Cuellar and Marcy Kaptur. I would be surprised if Kaptur voted no.
* There are 13 potential Democrats who could flip from No to Yes. Three of these lawmakers are retiring. The House Democratic leadership is now listing 7 of them as leaning Yes: Bart Gordon, Brian Baird, John Boccieri, Suzanne Kosmas, Betsy Markey, Scott Murphy and John Tanner.
* The undecided list includes: Jim Matheson, Harry Teague, Travis Childers, Jason Altmire, Paul Kanjorski, Dina Titus, Betty Sutton, Baron Hill, Allan Mollohan, Bill Owens, Tom Perriello, Zack Space, Chris Carney, Nick Rahall, Solomon Ortiz, Earl Pomeroy, Bill Foster, Harry Mitchell and Melissa Bean.
A new TV ad from the liberal activist group Moveon.org suggests that in historical terms passing Obamacare ranks alongside the civil rights movement and freeing of the slaves. They neglect to mention the previous Moveon ad campaign which was in opposition to the exact same bill. A few months ago they thought the bill was awful because it lacked a “public option”.
The same thing happened with their ads on the Bush/Obama surge and the Bush/Obama deficit. When Bush took a stand they were in firm opposition. When Obama did the exact same thing, they completely forgot their previous position. Moveon.org is focused on victory for the Democratic Party, and they are not interested in passing meaningful and effective reforms. It is time for Moveon.org to move on.