whip count


by: Chris Bowers

Sun Mar 21, 2010 at 22:20

My updates will appear in the twitter feed on the right.

--Reconciliation bill passes the House.  It will be sent to the Senate as soon as President Obama signs Senate bill into law.

--GOP motion to recommit, using Stupak language, has been defeated.

--Senate health care bill passes the House 219-212.  It can now be signed into law by President Obama. Roll Call vote here.

This post has been modified from earlier versions

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Vote on the rule passes the House, 224-206; harbinger of final vote

by: Chris Bowers

Sun Mar 21, 2010 at 18:34

Update 8:38 p.m.: Nate Silver has the differences between how folks were committed, and how they voted on the rule:

Among those Democrats projected to vote NO on final passage, five voted YES on the procedural vote: Jason Altmire, Marion Berry, Larry Kissell, Collin Peterson, and Harry Teague.

Among the four Democrats that the Times listed as undecided, Jerry Costello voted YES, but Rick Boucher, Dan Lipinski and Lincoln Davis (whom other sources regard as a solid no) voted NO. Bobby Rush, who was technically undecided as of this morning but was not listed by the Times that way, voted YES.

Harry Mitchell, projected to vote yes on final package, voted NO on the rules bill.

That projects to 218-220.

Update 2: Pelosi says Senate bill vote after 10 pm. Reconciliation after 11 pm.  All times eastern.

Update: At least three Dems who have announced they will oppose the bill--Tanner, Teague, Altmire--voted for the rule.  Final vote on Senate bill will get 221 or fewer supporters.


The House just passed the rules of debate on the reconciliation bill, 224-206, with one member not voting.  The final vote will be very similar.  A couple of Dems might drop off in the belief that it will somehow help them win re-election.

(Update--The roll call has now been posted on line, and can be found here.)

The debate will last for two hours.  Vote on the reconciliation bill will happen no earlier than 8:30 p.m., eastern.

If there are 224 votes in favor of the bill now, then either they didn't need the Stupak bloc, or the bloc was larger than the 6 reported yesterday.

This is an open thread for the ongoing debate.  Watch it live online at C-SPAN.

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More health reform updates

by: Chris Bowers

Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 17:29

Zach Space a no
After a wave of otherwise good news today for the Democratic leadership, Zach Space becomes a "yes to no."  Dang.

Stupak bloc down to 6?
Both Roll Call and The Hill are reporting the Stupak bloc is down to only six members.  Their sources are Bart Stupak and Marcy Kaptur.

If true--and that is a big if-then it is fantastic news.  In such a scenario, David Dayen posits that the leadership would only need one more "no to yes" vote to secure passage (although, now with Zach Space, two more "no to yes" votes would be needed).

However, until the four to six members who have supposedly left the group actually make some public statements in support of passage, I will remain wary.

Voting will start around 3pm, eastern, tomorrow
MSNBC gives us the timing for tomorrow's action:

From the House Democratic Caucus meeting, this from House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-CT). He says "shortly after 2, we will have an hour of debate on the rule." This is the rule to allow reconcilation to get to the floor.

They would then vote on the rule, sans deem and pass. He then says there will then be "two hours of debate on the bill."

The third vote, on the Senate bill, will take place sometime later in the day.  If it succeeds, President Obama will sign it into law that night.

With Syracuse playing Gonzaga at 12:10, tomorrow should be a nice calm, relaxing day.

Tea partiers on Capitol Hill getting really ugly
As covered in Quick Hits (see here and here), things are getting really ugly on Capitol Hill.  The bigotry is laid bare once again.  Conservatives sure are good at helping you choose sides.

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Still a showdown with Stupak

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 19:31

There have been no new vote announcements in over an hour.  At this point, anyone making an announcement will probably wait until tomorrow morning (such as Solomon Ortiz, a key "Stupak curious" member who will hold a press conference tomorrow morning).  There appears to have been a Friday afternoon rush to make the news while people were still paying attention.

Currently, I have ten "yes to no" votes, and seven "no to yes" votes.  That would mean the leadership needs two more "no to yes" votes to pass the bill.

Eight or nine of "yes to no" votes are Stupak bloc: Cao, Carney, Costello, Donnelly, Driehaus, Lipinski, Rahall, and Stupak.  Lynch might even be in that group, too.  Additionally, Berry, Dahlkemper, Kaptur and Ortiz are still "Stupak curious," potential members of the bloc.

The Stupak bloc is the only obstacle to passing the bill at this point.  Pelosi and Stupak talked for ten minutes today.  Additionally, Jeffery Young reports a cryptic, if still worrying sign:

Pro-choice female Dems are shuttling in and out of Pelosi's office and they won't say why.

Rep. Diana DeGette says "we're not happy."

At the same time, there are still enough undecided votes to pass the bill without the Stupak bloc.  Further, some members of the Stupak bloc might be wavering, such as Rahall, Costello and Cao.  Yet further, I agree with Nate Silver that "there's perhaps also a half-Stupak (face-saving BS to get 2-3 votes)."  We don't have to break the whole Stupak bloc, just two or three of them.  And it is possible that can be done with bullshit rather than caving.

One idea is that anyone who is a "no" on this bill, and who voted against the Stupak amendment, should receive the most pressure.  This means Adler, Arcuri, Boucher, Herseth Sandlin, Kissell, Kratovil, McMahon, and Minnick.  These eight could put an end to Stupak's influence, once and for all, but they choose not to do so.

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Live vote count updates

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 17:27

Update 6:18 p.m. Scott Murphy flips from "no to yes": Scott Murphy becomes the 7th "no to yes" vote. Leadership needs at least two more of those.

Update 6:05 pm--Barrow doesn't flip: A "no to yes" possibility disappears, as Rep. John Barrow stays a "no."  Good thing Obama cut an ad for Barrow when he faced a primary challenger in 2008.

Update 2--Cuellar a yes: Rep. Henry Cuellar, who was a possible Stupak bloc member, will vote yes, just as he did in November.

Berry, Dahlkemper, Kaptur and Ortiz are the remaining "Stupak curious" votes.

Ortiz holding a press conference to announce his vote tomorrow morning.


Update--Rahall and Carney join Stupak bloc: One step forward, two steps back.  Nick Rahall and Chris Carney join the Stupak bloc, giving "yes to no" ten votes.  Post updated to reflect.


Suzanne Kosmas flips:

Kosmas, one of 39 Democrats to oppose a similar bill in November, said in an exclusive interview with the Orlando Sentinel that she decided to change her mind because the latest version addressed some of her previous concerns about its effect on small businesses and the federal deficit.

"I'm going to vote for healthcare reform," she said. "I know this is not a perfect bill. But in the scheme of things, it provides the best options and the best opportunities for my constituents."

This is now seven confirmed "no to yes" votes, against ten solid-seeming "yes to no votes."  If the leadership can actually pick up just two more "no to yes," and hold down the rest of the no's, then they could pass the bill 216-215.

  1. 10 confirmed "Yes to No" votes: Arcuri, Cao, Carney, Costello, Donnelly, Driehaus, Lipinski, Lynch, Rahall, Stupak

  2. 7 confirmed "No to Yes" votes: Boccieri, Boyd, Gordon, Kosmas, Kucinich, Markey, S. Murphy

  3. This is a net of two three votes for "Yes to No." Without losing anymore yes votes, the Democratic leadership needs to pick up at least two more "no" vote from November to pass the bill
This is looking more positive than it was even just an hour ago.  Getting Brian Baird would be huge for passing the bill without the Stupak bloc.
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"Yes to no" still three ahead of "no to yes"; can only be one ahead, at most, for passage

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 16:32

Allen Boyd has become the 5th confirmed "no to yes" vote:

Rep. Allen Boyd has flipped from no to yes on #hcr, @ryangrim is told.

But, as has become the pattern, health reform takes a step back at the same time.  Jason altmire, who had been a good "no to yes" possibility, remains at no:

Congressman Altmire will vote against the health care bill.

Altmire is the sort of vote that could have broken the Stupak bloc.  Losing him is a big deal.

Here is where the "yes to no" and "no to yes" votes stand.  Remember that, at most, there can only be one more "yes to no" than "no to yes":

  1. 8 confirmed "Yes to No" votes: Arcuri, Cao, Costello, Donnelly, Driehaus, Lipinski, Lynch, Stupak

    (Note: even if he is undecided, Cao will never cast the deciding vote in favor.  As such, he should be considered a "Yes to No" for the duration of the vote count)

  2. 5 confirmed "No to Yes" votes: Boccieri, Boyd, Gordon, Kucinich, Markey

  3. The results in a net of three votes for "Yes to No." That means the leadership needs to pick up two more "no" votes from November to pass the bill
With the exception of Arcuri, and possible exception of Lynch, everyone in the "yes to no" group is in the Stupak bloc.  Really, this is a fight to find enough "no to yes" votes to overcome the Stuapk bloc.

The best remaining "no to yes" possibilities who did not vote for the Stupak amendment are Baird, Kosmas, and Scott Murphy.  The leadership needs two of those three, plus not to lose any "Stupak curious" members (Berry, Cuellar, Dahlkemper, Ellsworth, and Kaptur), or any other "yes" votes (like DeFazio and Rush) to pull this off.  Or, they need to start breaking some of the harder "no" votes, or more dedicated Stuapk bloc members.

Really feels like threading a needle.  At this point, it is safe to predict that there will be less than 220 votes for the bill, even if it passes.

Update: Brad Ellsworth is now a "yes."  He was a yes last time too, but this is significant because he was "Stupak curious."

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Stupak situation still not settled

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 13:05

Stupak says he is negotiating with the leadership on the bill:

This morning, during an appearance on Good Morning America, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) reaffirmed that he might vote for the Senate health care bill if Democrats pass the Stupak abortion amendment as a separate measure. Stupak said that Democrats have shown a "renewed" interest in tying his amendment to the Senate bill

Pelosi says she isn't negotiating:

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was asked about Bart Stupak's suggestion that there could be another bill to address abortion funding and she said, "I haven't heard any of that."

"If you don't want federal funding for abortion... and you want to have a health care bill," she said. "This is it."

Leaving the he said / she said aside for the moment, Stupak still appears to hold the balance on the bill.  He may not have a dozen members anymore, but the vote is so close he doesn't need that many anymore to sink the bill.

To pass the bill, the leadership needs to have only one less "no to yes" votes than "yes to no" votes.  Right now, "yes to no" is running at least four ahead, and at least six of the "yes to no" votes are cited the lack of the Stupak amendment as their main rationale.

What this means is that, at least based on public whip counts, there isn't a clear path to passage at this point without either getting the Stupak group to cave, or caving to the Stupak group. And it isn't even clear if Democrats could make a deal with Stupak if they wanted to, given both opposition in the Senate, the threat of losing new "no to yes" votes such as Betsy Markey, and the rules on reconciliation generally.

I don't have any particularly deep insight into this, or any clever solutions.  It is just worth noting that the Stupak situation is far from settled at this point.

Discuss :: (18 Comments)

Boccieri to switch to "yes"; now "no to yes" votes lagging 4 behind "yes to no"

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 11:00

Representative John Boccieri just announced at a press conference that he will vote "yes" on the health reform bill.  This is significant, because Boccieri voted "no" back in November.

He becomes the fourth confirmed "no to yes" vote.  However, there are still eight "yes to no" votes, meaning the leadership still needs at least another three Representatives who voted "no" in November.  Here is the running tally:

  1. 8 confirmed "Yes to No" votes: Arcuri, Cao, Costello, Donnelly, Driehaus, Lipinski, Lynch, Stupak

    (Note: even if he is undecided, Cao will never cast the deciding vote in favor.  As such, he should be considered a "Yes to No" for the duration of the vote count)

  2. 4 confirmed "No to Yes" votes: Boccieri, Gordon, Kucinich, Markey

  3. The results in a net of four votes for "Yes to No." That means the leadership needs to pick up three more "no" votes from November to pass the bill
While Boccieri is a step forward, Peter DeFazio has emerged this morning as another November "yes" vote who could flip to "no" this time around.

Rep. Pete Defazio tells @ryangrim he's a NO unless they re-insert geo. disparity fix for Medicare http://bit.ly/dt1rog

What a slog.  One step forward, one step back, lots of Reps looking to get in the headlines by saying they are undecided or about to announce their vote.

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"Yes to No" votes running 5 ahead of "No to Yes" votes; can run only 1 ahead at most

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 17:50

There are a lot of whip counts on the health reform bill right now.  In the midst of the confusion, let me suggest a simplified metric on the progress of the health reform bill:

  1. Tally the number of confirmed "No" votes who switched from voting yes in November;
  2. Tally the number of confirmed "Yes" votes who switched from voting no in November;
  3. Subtract #2 from #1.
  4. If the resulting number is equal to, or less than, 1, then the bill looks good for passage.  If the result is greater than 1, passage is in danger.
With droves of members of Congress still playing coy with the public, this should make things easy.

So, here we go:

  1. 8 confirmed "Yes to No" votes: Arcuri, Cao, Costello, Donnelly, Driehaus, Lipinski, Lynch, Stupak

    (Note: even if he is undecided, Cao will never cast the deciding vote in favor.  As such, he should be considered a "Yes to No" for the duration of the vote count)

  2. 3 confirmed "No to Yes" votes: Gordon, Kucinich, Markey

  3. The results in a net of five votes for "Yes to No." That means the leadership needs to pick up four more "no" votes from November to pass the bill
Hopefully, that simplifies things, and makes it easier to understand the run of play.  Then again, some of these supposedly "hard yes" and "hard no" votes have flipped before, so even this count is prone to confusion.

Update--Bobby Rush a no? CNN claims Bobby Rush is now a "no."  Don't quite believe this yet.  Best to wait for more info.

Update 2: Bobby Rush already backing off "no" stance; So much for Rush being a no:

@ryangrim just talked to Rep. Bobby Rush, he's already backing off 'no' vote. House staffer: 'he's a primadonna, he'll be a yes'

That was an interesting five minutes.

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Rep. Stephen Lynch to vote no, endangers passage

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 14:04

Representative Stephen Lynch, who voted for the health reform bill in November and had been considered a "yes" in David Dayen's whip count, is now a "solid no" on the current bill:

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) is a firm "no" on health care reform -- in large measure because he opposes the idea of any kind of excise tax on Cadillac plans, even one that's delayed for years and years.

That puts the vote count at 204 in favor, and 211 opposed, with leaners.  Pretty dicey on passage, to say the least, especially when you look at the 16 undecided, non-leaning votes in the count:

Jason Altmire
Melissa Bean
Chris Carney
Travis Childers
Henry Cuellar
Kathy Dahlkemper
Brad Ellsworth
Bill Foster
Marcy Kaptur
Jim Matheson
Harry Mitchell
Solomon Ortiz
Earl Pomeroy
Nick Rahall
Zack Space
Harry Teague

Additionally, I now expect Stephen Lynch to receive loads of concessions on future legislation.  By voting against this bill, be becomes more powerful in future negotiations, right?  So, let's track his rise to power after this vote.

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Not everything going well on health reform today

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 13:45

While Dennis Kucinich coming out in support of the bill was a big lift in favor of health reform passage, other news paints a less than rosy picture for those supporting passage.

1. CBO score still not out, deadline tonight.
In order to pass the bill by the Easter recess, and avoid any further delays that could sink the bill, the Senate needs to take up the bill next week.

In order for the Senate to take up the reconciliation bill next week, President Obama has to sign the Senate bill into law before he leaves the country for a five day trip on Sunday.

In order for President Obama to sign the bill into law before he leaves the country, the House needs to pass the bill by Saturday night.

And, in order for the House to pass the bill by Saturday night, the CBO needs to release its score of the bill tonight, 72 hours before the House votes.

However, its Wednesday, and there is still no score.  While one is expected tonight, the holdup is a pretty serious one.  As Jonathan Cohn explains, the reconciliation bill might not reduce the deficit during the second decade after its enactment, which is required in order to pass the bill through reconciliation.

Hard to imagine that this is something which can be fixed in a single day, and without a public option.

2. Two "lean yes" votes move to undecided
Reps Marcy Kaptur and Jason Altmire had been in the "lean yes" category of David Dayen's whip count.  They don't sound like "lean yes" votes today, though.

Kaptur is sounding Stupacky:

Kaptur said she's spoken to Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), another pro-life Dem who's signed off on the Senate's abortion language, but didn't find his reasons persuasive.

Altmire goes on Fox to echo Republican complaints about process:

Sounding more like a no than he was last week. On March 16, Altmire told Fox Business Network that he has major problem with Democrats' apparent "deem and pass" strategy, calling it "wrong."

Yeesh.  Maybe its time to take these two out of lean yes, and put them into undecided.  Doing so would make the vote count YES 206--208 NO.


Still have a ways to go before reaching the finish line.  Not all the news today is good news.

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Kucinich to vote yes

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 10:21

Just now, Representative Dennis Kucinich announced he would vote yes on the Senate health bill and the reconciliation fix to that bill.  Greg Sargent:

"In the past week it's become clear that the vote on the final bill will be very close," Kucinich, who voted No last time because of the lack of the public option, said at a presser moments ago, adding that he would have to vote "not on the bill as I would like to see it, but as it is."

"However, after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi" and others, Kucinich said, "I've decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation."

It is unclear at this time if he won any concessions.  If he didn't win them yesterday, he isn't ever going to win them during this fight, because the text of the bill was scheduled to be finished yesterday.

This brings the total "yes" and "lean yes" supporters of the bill up to 208.  Eight away from passage.

Update: More from Greg Sragent. Kucinich switched out of "compassion," didn't receive any specific promises:

"I left it with a real sense of compassion for our president and what he's going through," he said. "We have to be compassionate towards those who are called upon to make decisions for this nation. It's not an easy burden that he's taken up.

Kucinich said Obama didn't make any promises to take up the public option later.

"What he committed to was to continue to work with me on the broad concerns that I have," he said. "He didn't make any specific commitment."

Donna Brazile flags an interesting quote from Kucinich:

"I have taken a detour in supporting this bill, but I know the destination."
Discuss :: (53 Comments)

Implications of a Kucinich "yes" vote on health reform

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 22:51

Representative Dennis Kucinich is holding a press conference tomorrow at 10 a.m., eastern, to announce his vote on the health reform package.  On Countdown tonight, Howard Fineman reported that Kucinich is now a "yes."

There is no guarantee this is true.  But, if true, there are many implications:

  • Only eight away from passage. Given the three other Democrats who came out in support of the bill today (Maffei, Doyle and Kirkpatrick), the "yes" and "lean yes" totals on the package would rise to 208, only eight away from passage.

  • Did he win a concession?  Kucinich had made several, specific demands in return for his vote.  The most prominent of those was an ERISA waiver.  Jane Hamsher:

    Kucinich told Obama that he wants a full ERISA waver and a public option in exchange for his vote.  And if he actually gets an ERISA waver, it will be the biggest victory of the entire health care debate.   As Jon Walker says, "ERISA is the 900 pound Gorilla that has fucked up America's health care system something good."

    I definitely don't agree that it would be the biggest victory in the debate.  After all, this is just the possibility of state single payer, not actual single-payer (and no, Pennsylvania is not close to enacting single-payer).  By contrast, Bernie Sanders has scored public primary care for 22 million people.  But, it would still would become another way that progressives strengthened the bill.

  • Does Kucinich bring anyone with him? While Kucinich is the last House Progressive holding out on the bill, and thus can't bring anymore votes with him, it is worth asking whether his support brings along any progressive activists.  If Kucinich won at least one of his demands, such as the ERISA waiver, will any of the not insignificant amount of progressive activists supporting Kucinich come along with him?  Or, will those activists reject Kucinich, too, because he didn't win all of his demands? (or many his demands were never enough in the first place for some).
This is certainly the most interesting vote update of the day.  I wasn't going to watch before, but now Kucinich's press conference has become a must-see.
Discuss :: (84 Comments)

207: Ann Kirkpatrick comes out in favor of the health reform package

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 21:01

Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, who had been one of the key undecided votes, said she would vote for the health reform bills today:  The Hill got her statement:

"In my first year in Congress, I have always put the needs of my district first -- that's why I stood up to the President and congressional leadership and opposed the auto and bank government bailouts, the cap-and-trade bill and billions in deficit spending. I am doing so again by voting for this reform package. Health insurance reform is critical to ending denials of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, making sure our children can get the care they need and protecting our seniors from unaffordable prescription drug costs. I will be working to improve the bill moving forward, including addressing the potential costs for AHCCCS and eliminating politics-as-usual special deals like the Cornhusker Kickback."

Kirkpatrick is the second key undecided to come out in favor today.  Representative Mike Doyle was the first.

According to David Dayen's whip count, Kirkpatrick is the 207th "yes" or "lean yes" vote.  That puts the bill nine votes from passage, although the final nine will not be easy.

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A look at the 13 key House votes on health reform

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 16:40

Representative Mike Doyle came out in favor of the health reform bill today, making the best available vote count on the bill 206 in favor, 209 opposed.  Among the remaining undecideds, there are good reasons to suspect that Representative Nick Rahall (recently received in-district health care funding), along with Representatives Bill Foster and Harry Mitchell (aren't really speaking out against the bill, but are targeted by HCAN), will vote yes.  Or, at the very least, there are good reasons to believe that those three Representatives are not the most difficult, final votes that are needed to pass the health reform bill.

The most difficult potential votes remaining are the following thirteen:

John Barrow (GA-12)
Chris Carney (PA-10)
Travis Childers (MS-01)
Jerry Costello (IL-12)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Lincoln Davis (TN-04)
Brad Ellsworth (IN-08)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Jim Matheson (UT-02)
Solomon Ortiz (TX-27)
Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL)
Zack Space (OH-18)
Harry Teague (NM-02)

Unless it can scrounge up votes form the "hard no's" and "lean no's," the leadership will need the support of seven of these thirteen to pass the bill. It isn't going to be easy:

  • A very conservative group. The mean Progressive Punch score for these members on crucial votes in 2009-2010 is only 38.1%, and the median is only 34.3%.  Only three of these thirteen had scores over 40%, and only two had scores over 50%.  No one had a score over 60%.

    These thirteen members vote more like Republicans than like Democrats.

  • Almost universally for Stupak 12 of the 13 voted for the Stupak amendment  Ann Kirkpatrick is the only one of the thirteen who didn't.

    It's a good thing that Stupak amendment can't be changed in reconciliation.  Given the Representatives who are still on the fence, it is pretty easy to see the House leadership just cutting a deal on Stupak to pass the bill.

  • New to Congress  8 of the 13 were first elected in 2004 or later. Two were first elected in 2004 (Barrow and Cuellar).  Three were first elected in 2006 (Carney, Ellsworth, Space).  Three were first elected in 2008 (Childers, Kirkpatrick and Teague).

    While that doesn't seem like money very well spent by the DCCC, it should also be a strong point of leverage.  Any groups who helped them get elected can really put the hammer down this time.

  • Majority voted for the health reform bill in November.  8 of the 13 voted for the health reform bill back in November.  Only Barrow, Childers, Davis, Matheson and Teague did not.
This is a pretty right-wing group, but securing a majority of them it possible.  The key is probably for groups that supported them in 2008, including the White House, to throw the hammer down and make this vote a pre-condition for support in 2010.  They vote more like Republicans than like Democrats, but only have the benefit of being in Congress due to support from Democratic and progressive groups.
Discuss :: (11 Comments)
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