The six definite, and eleven potential, members of the Stupak bloc (Updated)

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 17:46


Who are the members of Bart Stupak's bloc?  That is, which members of the House of Representatives will vote for health reform if it contains Stupak's regressive, restrictive language on reproductive rights, but will vote against it if it does not?

Lots of theories and speculation has been made to this effect, including my own.  Now, however, I believe I can provide something much closer to definitive proof.

On the day the House voted on health reform in November, Stupak told the Huffington Post that his bloc of anti-choice Democrats proved their muscle in July by defeating the leadership on Roll Call 553.

Stupak said the Blue Dogs have gradually been sending a message to leadership and that much of it goes back to a previous vote involving an appropriations bill that Blue Dogs wanted to include pro-life language.

In July, the House considered a Financial Services Appropriations bill that would allow publicly-funded abortions in the District of Columbia. Stupak and allies were not allowed an amendment, so they sought to "take down the rule" -- in other words, round up enough votes to deny he bill a chance to get voted on on the floor. When time expired, the pro-lifers had prevailed. But Pelosi held the vote open for extra time and persuaded four members to switch their votes.

They didn't win in the end, Stupak said, but they accomplished their goal.

"We wanted to send a message," he said. "We went back and I said, 'See, I can take down your rule.'"

This information, presented by Bart Stupak himself, is actually enough to narrow the potential members of Stupak's bloc to 17.  Given Stupak's comments, only members of the House who meet all three of the following conditions can be said to be part of his bloc:

  1. Voted with Stupak on his demonstration effort in July (Roll Call 553).  If someone was not with Stupak on his test vote, then that someone is not really with Stupak (or is at least malleable enough to be separated from Stupak).

  2. Voted for the Stupak amendment on November 7th. (Roll Call 884). If they didn't vote for the Stupak amendment, then tautologically speaking they are not with Stupak.

  3. Voted for the House health reform bill overall. (Roll Call 887).  If they didn't vote for health reform even with the Stupak amendment, then their objections to the health reform bill are not Stupak related.
There are sixteen Democrats who meet all these criteria, plus one Republican.  Only these 17 members of the House can arguably be claimed to Stupak swing votes, since every other member of the House already broke with Stupak on a key vote.  Here is the list (more in the extended entry):
Chris Bowers :: The six definite, and eleven potential, members of the Stupak bloc (Updated)
The 17 potential members of Stupak's bloc
Carney (PA-10)
Cao (LA-02)
Costello (IL-12)
Dahlkemper (PA-03)

Donnelly (IN-02)
Doyle (PA-14)
Driehaus (OH-01)
Ellsworth (IN-08)
Hill (IN-09)
Kanjorski (PA-12)
Kildee (MI-05)
Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Lipinski (IL-03)
Mollohan (WV-01)
Oberstar (MN-08)
Rahall (WV-03)
Stupak (MI-01)

Now, of these 17, the six representatives in boldface signed a letter declaring their membership in the Stupak bloc, back on June 25th. So, those are definitely members of the Stupak bloc.

The other eleven Representatives are either members of Stupak's bloc, or they are coincidentally voting with Stupak.

This range of numbers matches up pretty closely to what Stupak has claimed and what others have reported.  Today, the bloc was reported at "roughly a dozen" members, while yesterday Stupak claimed "15-20."  Life News also purports to have a list of the 12 members of the bloc.  However, some of the names on their list have already broken with Stupak on one of the three key votes, so their list doesn't pass the smell test.

While this is not a final, formal list, I believe it is much closer than anything previously produced.  It is also small enough that it can be finalized with media inquiries over the next few days.  Stay tuned...

Update: Joseph Cao declares himself a member of the bloc:

"I have conveyed to the White House that at this point I cannot support the agenda that's being pushed because of the federal funding for abortion," Cao said in an interview with CNN. "Unless the abortion language changes, I cannot support the president's program."

So, that makes seven definite, and ten potential, members of the bloc.


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Executive Order? (4.00 / 1)
Are they going to take another bite at the apple in the reconciliation fix or is the Senate language final?

Is it possible that an Executive Order (or promise of one, if necessary) by Obama could move some of this group?

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans


Bloc members (4.00 / 1)
You sure Harry Mitchell isn't in there too?

When you say stay tuned, I assume you're going to suggest some sort of action. Bring it on.

Doug Kahn


great post (0.00 / 0)
I see Pelosi questioned the cohesion of the group

http://voices.washingtonpost.c...


New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.


Haven't we seen this before? (0.00 / 0)
If Stupak says he has the votes and Pelosi says he doesn't, Stupak seems more credible based on past claims.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
It seems Stupak is serious on the vote total (0.00 / 0)
According to Talking Points Memo (and Politico, I think), Steny Hoyer and Stupak have been negotiating over perhaps passing a separate bill, a "sidebar" bill as Stupak called it, to add the Stupak language to the health care bill.  Leaving aside the obvious fact this would have no way of passing the Senate, as the vote on the Nelson/Hatch amendment proves, it seems a wee bit odd that the House leadership would be negotiating with Stupak on the issue if they didn't believe he could command enough votes to torpedo the overall bill, an action he stated, in an interview with George Stephanopolous, he was quite comfortable performing. Pelosi better find a way, fast, of appeasing this guy, or any momentum that has been generated over the past few weeks will be lost because of Stupak's intransigence.  

I don't know if Cao should be included in the bloc because I was under the impression that Stupak was referring to Democrats only, but I could be wrong.  


Cao is already out anyway (0.00 / 0)
Some of Stupak's bloc might include "no" votes who are considering "yes" like Boucher, Gordon or Tanner.  

[ Parent ]
The names I heard around the Hill (0.00 / 0)
I heard 10; Costello, Dahlkemper, Driehaus, Donolley, Ellsworth, Etheridge, Kaptur, Mollohan, Oberstar, Stupak,  

Huh. I googled a few of these people and found a nice website, ontheissues.org (4.00 / 2)
that clearly indicates that Oberstar, Mollohan, and Costello have been 100% pro-life on everything in the last five congresses, and are consequently quite likely unreachable on this bill.

I'm checked only because Mollohan and Oberstar are committee / subcommittee chairs, and as such really ought to be whip-able on a once-in-a-generation vote like this.  But given how adamantly pro-life they've been so far, maybe not.

Your list sounds reasonable to me.  Although Etheridge had a mixed record at ontheissues.org (pro stem cell votes, and some votes against crazy fetus-as-person laws), so maybe he is reachable...

And if we lose Kanjorski on this bill I am going to be seriously pissed.


[ Parent ]
Some of those are reachable (4.00 / 1)
Kanjorski has a serious primary challenge. Threatening him with a moneybomb for his opponent ought to work. Especially as he tends to underperform in general elections and we'd be better off with a different congressman.

Kildee has a primary challenger, although I'm not sure how credible he is. Either way, the UAW is the way to flip him - they do not want healthcare torpedoed.

Driehaus is vulnerable in the general. Threatening to blackball him from ActBlue might help there.

Doyle's in a blue district, but western PA is too Catholic to really help us. And Oberstar is an institution and frankly too good on other issues for me to want him taken down - I'm saddened rather than outraged.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


We've got to be realistic on this (0.00 / 0)
This whole thing doesn't kick in until after 2013. Historically, since FDR the ONLY Democratic president to serve more than one term has been Clinton (and then only because he veered towards the right after the 1994 mid-term elections). Republicans have occupied the Executive Office for many more years than the Democrats.

The way the Healthcare bill is structured, the Department of Health and Human Services is in charge of ALL healthcare decisions. Guess who APPOINTS and staffs the HHS department? That's right - the president.

Folks better think long and hard about how they feel about a Republican administration making their healthcare decisions for them before they throw all of their weight behind passage of this bill.


Excellent list (0.00 / 0)
I don't know if anyone read the article yet or is intending to, but Jay Cost in a vote-counting article on Real Clear Politics makes specific mention of this very list compiled by Mr. Bowers.  Obviously people are taking this list and Mr. Stupak's threats very seriously now.  

http://www.realclearpolitics.c...

The mention of Mr. Bowers' list is in the last paragraph.


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