Senate reconciliation whip count update

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 12:16


As part of our ongoing Senate whip count on using reconciliation for health reform, Mike Lux contacted the offices of Senators Tim Johnson (SD) and Ben Nelson (NE):

I talked to Johnson's COS , and he said that Tim is overseas on a congressional trip, and that he would ask him when he gets back. He said that Tim had always leaned toward voting for a public option.

I talked to Ben Nelson's COS , and he said that Ben had never been for a public option and still wasn't. He said that while Ben would prefer not doing health care reform through reconciliation, and would prefer having at least some Republican support for a bill, that if he liked what was in the final bill, he would vote for it regardless if it went through reconciliation or not.

That makes Tim Johnson a "probably" (effectively a "maybe") on question #1 (use reconciliation to finish health reform?") and a "maybe" on question #2 (include a public option in health reform?)  Ben Nelson is now a "Yes" on question number one, and a "no" on question #2.

Here are the current whip count standings:

#1: Open to reconciliation to finish health reform?
Yes: 34
Maybe: 5
No: 1
??: 19

#2: Include public option via reconciliation?
Yes: 20
Maybe: 9
No: 5
??: 25

If all the "maybes" are included, that makes 39 Senators open to reconciliation, and 29 in favor of including a public option via reconciliation.  Right now, that is the best case scenario.  The "maybes" on using reconciliation are probably all "yes" votes (except Maria Cantwell, who is a true maybe on reconciliation).  The same can't be said for "maybes" on including the public option, where "maybes" as a bit sketchier.

We probably won't get many, if any, more statements until Monday.  Congress is out of session, and the week is winding down.  However, I expect the statements to start coming in fast on Monday and, especially, Tuesday.

Chris Bowers :: Senate reconciliation whip count update

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Which is more the more difficult challenge, policy or process? (0.00 / 0)
Your whip count questions are probably designed to answer that question and I've noticed that Q 2 (policy) is now gaining on Q 1 in the totals.

See the Stein pieces

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

hbhawaii comments about identical responses from both HI senators saying they support the PO but not sure if reconciliation is the right procedure.

and

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

Both Durbin and Dodd's staffs are singing the same toon as well. Your previous posts seem to show this same theme when reporting on Senators in WA.,WI and others. Not to mention comments from Reid himself.

In fact not more than a handful of Sen. have said NO to the PublicOption. The word has been sent: the majority of Dems are for the PO but its simply too difficult to pass
proceedurely. Not only the difficulty that reconciliation
presents but now we have the Summit; Republicn input; WH Healthcare plan.  I believe the term for the process it called "ping ponging", who knew it would be marathon ping-pong..  Let's face it the obstacles to passing a real HC reform bill will never end....the Dems are solidly behind the concept. We can be clear about that part.


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