Free Markets, Free People

Health care reform: So where are we on the vote?

David Dayden at FDL has it as 190 “yes”, 205 “no” (with leaners 202- 207).  That down one from the last whip count on the “yes” side and puts Obama and Pelosi about 14 short with leaners.  Democrat Bart Stupak thinks they’re 16 votes short.

Republican Representative David Dreier puts it at slighly less needed on the yes side:

In a press conference on Capitol Hill today, Rep. David Dreier (R., Calif.), ranking Republican on the House Rules Committee, said the word around the House is that Democrats are still about 10 votes away from securing the 216 they will need to pass changes to the health-care bill. Dreier added that that number might be moving in the wrong direction for Democrats.

It’s possible (see FDL count) it’s moving in the wrong direction, but, as always the disclaimer that these numbers are quite fluid and could literally change in a second or in accordance with how hard a particular arm is being twisted or how much of the moon they’re being promised for their vote.  I’d say they’re in the 10-12 vote short neighborhood given the reports above.

Be that as it may, Pelosi and company are exploring all the contingencies:

The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers “deem” the health-care bill to be passed.

The tactic — known as a “self-executing rule” or a “deem and pass” — has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill. It is one of three options that Pelosi said she is considering for a late-week House vote, but she added that she prefers it because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure.

“It’s more insider and process-oriented than most people want to know,” the speaker said in a roundtable discussion with bloggers Monday. “But I like it,” she said, “because people don’t have to vote on the Senate bill.”

This is Pelosi’s fix for the kamakazi role she’s asked many of the members of Congress to take on the HCR package. But, according to the article cited in the WaPo this would apply to the package of fixes they want the Senate to undertake when and if she’s able to push the Senate bill through the House. The article then hints it may be used on the full Senate bill as well. The use of the rule only makes sense (if the intent is to hide who voted for it) if it is used on the full Senate version now pending in the House. It is that bill which promises problems for Democrats in November if passed with their names attached.

Democrats have convinced themselves that the American people aren’t intrested in “process”. That is, they don’t care how they get it done, they just want to see it done. We’ve heard Obama echo this point as well as both Reid and Pelosi. But we’ve also heard them whine about an “up or down” vote, as in “American’s deserve an up or down vote”. Apparently not so much any more.

As for hiding the vote, it seems to be contrary to the Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 7):

But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively.

The argument, of course, is the House has the power to write it’s own procedural rules, but it doesn’t have the power to set aside the procedural rules the Constitution imposes. This would seem to be a blatant attempt to do just that.

But more than anything, it signals that the House leadership may be reaching the conclusion that trying to get 216 votes is a bridge too far. Pelosi wants this done this week. If you see it show up on the floor and this procedure introduced, you’ll know they don’t have the votes. You’ll also know that “America” is not going to get the “up or down vote” that Obama and Pelosi called for either.



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17 Responses to Health care reform: So where are we on the vote?

  • Thanks, McQ, for the bipartisan article. As a conservative, I’m looking for facts and not spin. American citizens are smart enough to weigh details and make their own minds up. With that in mind, and less all the bias… it looks like the current health care bill should sit out this round, until clearer heads prevail.

  • It’s really a question of how many votes they can buy.  The problem for Pelosi, IMO, is that there isn’t enough pork to save the jobs of a number of the potential ‘yes’ voters who are sitting on the fence.  How many arms are left untwisted at this point?

    • There’s also the problems that certain forms of pork don’t pass muster for the reconciliation pipeline, thus limiting what Pelosi can offer. The last thing the Democrats need is to further muddy the procedural issues and cause delay.

      It looks like this is a political version of a two-minute-drill. If they can’t score now, things get worse later, making passage ever more difficult. So they’ll pull every trick play out of the book they can, but they have to always keep in mind that time is their enemy.

      • Billy HollisThere’s also the problems that certain forms of pork don’t pass muster for the reconciliation pipeline, thus limiting what Pelosi can offer.

        You know, it’s really disgusting that we accept (even if we don’t like) that, as a matter of routine, politicians can be bought and sold with public money.  “What’ll it take to get you to vote for this bill?  A bridge in your district?  A tax cut or a regulatory change for a business in your state?  A post office named for you?  Just name your price: the sky’s the limit!  And don’t worry about the fact that the American people the Red Chinese generations of Americans not yet born are picking up the tab: you’re a member of Congress.  You DESERVE these kinds of favors.”

        • You know, it’s really disgusting that we accept (even if we don’t like) that, as a matter of routine, politicians can be bought and sold with public money.

          I have become quite cynical about that. I now assume that anyone who has been in Washington more than four or five years is tied into the money flow and spends most of their time balancing favors and getting goodies to butter up their constituents.

          And why shouldn’t they? It has worked. We’ve let it work. I’ve spent decades now trying to get people interested in the growth of spending, debt, and intrusiveness by the federal government. But most people just don’t want to think about it. They don’t want to look at the sausage making.

          They want to remember Schoolhouse Rock How a Bill Becomes Law and look at their representatives in DC the way they learned in Civics class; as wise and beneficent men and women having polite discussions about differing viewpoints and all coming together with pragmatic, moderate compromises for the common good. You know, the stupid crap that political science professors are still trying to convince gullible people is the right way for politicians to act.

          It’s been a convenient fiction for those who wish to lord over the rest of us. Starting with FDR, and getting a real boost with JFK/LBJ’s “best and brightest”, the political class has grown to feel a sense of entitlement about telling the rest of us what to do. If that involves misleading the proles, well, it’s all for their own good, doncha know.

          They reached the point where they have only two metrics for success: (1) getting to a deal with their fellow politicians, and (2) getting re-elected again and again. All other considerations have fallen by the wayside. Debt doesn’t matter to them. Growing dependency in the populace doesn’t matter to them. Erosion of freedom sure as he!! doesn’t matter to them, because they don’t really believe the people know what to do with it anyway.

          So, yeah, I just assume that the majority are going to wheel and deal and back-scratch with other people’s money, with not a trace of remorse or reservation. As I said last week, the only way this differs from a crime of bribery is that there is no way to prosecute it.

  • “But I like it,” [Pelosi] said, “because people don’t have to vote on the Senate bill.”

    In other words, these f*cking wardheelers who we PAY TO VOTE FOR A LIVING… don’t have to.

    Yes, yes, I know: she’s saying that they don’t have to vote on this particular bill but rather on some sort of bizzare, parliamentarian-trick surrogate.  But the whole point of having a legislative body is that they vote on bills to make them law, not vote on “self-executing rules to deem a bill passed so it can be signed into law with the expectation that it will be heavily modified later”.

    McQDemocrats have convinced themselves that the American people aren’t intrested in “process”. That is, they don’t care how they get it done, they just want to see it done.

    For a normal bill, I’d say that they would be correct: the vast majority of Americans have no understanding of or interest in the way that a bill becomes a law.  However, with a pretty solid majority of Americans bluntly, vocally, and consistently opposing this particular bill AND outraged at all the shenanians that have gone on to get it this far, you can bet your life that Americans are VERY interested in process on this one and will not take kindly to learning that bizarre, incomprehensible legislative tricks were played to pass something that they don’t want.

    Most.  Ethical.  Congress.  EV-AH.

    McQ[W]e’ve also heard [democrats] whine about an “up or down” vote, as in “American’s deserve an up or down vote”. Apparently not so much any more.

    I’ve often thought that one of the great things about the American people is our sense of fair play, which includes playing by the rules.  Yes, we believe in majority rule (something we learn from an early age), but most of us also learn to abide by the rules of the game.  The dems had a reasonable-sounding argument in calling for the “up or down vote”, but this meant scrapping the fillibuster, i.e. scrapping the rules in the middle of the game.  That doesn’t sit well with many people.  Now they are trying to change the rules to allow them to basically sidestep majority rule.  That REALLY doesn’t sit too well with many people.

    Note that I say “many people”.  I’ve learned through this shabby affair something that surprised even cynical me: democrats are even more childish and thuggish than even I ever thought.  They have shown that they are willing to do ANYTHING to get their way.  And it’s not just the elected democrats, either: their voters at best passively accept that their side will break the rules without a qualm if it furthers their agenda and at worst lustily cheer this sort of cheating, anything-goes politics.  Perhaps they are just too ignorant to know what’s being done, or too stupid to understand; I don’t know.  But it seems to me that the democrats – ALL of them – have done critical damage to our system of government in this past year.  They have set a standard of thuggish, lying, hypocritical behavior that, if continued, will destroy our system of government.

    A pox upon them.

  • I think this qualifies as the understatement of the day …

    The Democrats have been forced to unorthodox tactics after losing their filibuster-proof majority of 60 in the Senate in a Massachusetts by-election.

  • Thank you for this Mr McQuain. By the way it is good if people can vote.
    @docjim505 “ALL of them – have done critical damage to our system of government in this past year.  They have set a standard of thuggish, lying, hypocritical behavior that, if continued, will destroy our system of government” Yah your right. that could be done critical damage.

  • Robert Samuelson writes:

    There’s a parallel here: housing. Most Americans favor homeownership, but uncritical pro-homeownership policies (lax lending standards, puny down payments, hefty housing subsidies) helped cause the financial crisis. The same thing is happening with health care. The appeal of universal insurance — who, by the way, wants to be uninsured? — justifies half-truths and dubious policies. That the process is repeating itself suggests that our political leaders don’t learn even from proximate calamities.

    Another parallel .. using “consensus.”
    You’d think after the “consensus” that said Iraq had stockpiles of WMDs was proven untrue, that politicians would be slow to warm to a “consensus” on AGW .. but they didn’t learn from that set of proximate calamities either.

  • I’d say anyone who paid attention during school house rock, has their head spinning when they here stuff like this.

  • If they “deem” the legislation passed by the Slaughter rule, can the next GOP congress just “deem” the law to have been repealed?

    And can’t the GOP congress just “deem” whatever they want? 

    I gotta tell you, I like the way this is headed. The Dems are about to establish preceedent to basically pass whatever they want, just as they’re getting thrown out.

    • Oh, no, no, NO!  You don’t understand at all.  Only democrats, due to their compassion and infallible knowledge of what’s good for the people, get to rewrite, ignore, or otherwise toss the rules when they are inconvenient.  Republicans must not only play by the WRITTEN rules all the time, they must even abide by whatever UNwritten rules the dems and their MiniTru mouthpieces come up with.

      Who are you that I have to explain this, Lindsey Graham???


      Seriously, though, I hope that the GOP resists the understandable urge to use these newfound powers to their own advantage.  Our country is in enough trouble without both sides using the other’s sins as an excuse for greater sins of its own.  But I do enjoy a little fantasy now and then, so:

      The hoped for / anticipated GOP majority will deem:

      1.  That Imeme has been impeached, convicted, removed from office, and sentenced to be deported for life to Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, North Korea, or a similar country where he would feel right at home (the Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment is still in effect, you know, so we can’t have him shot, hanged, or locked in a cell with Joe Biden for the rest of his life);

      2.  That Nancy Pelosi is insane and should be locked up for the remainder of her unnatural life.  I would suggest electric shock, but I think she would have to have a functional brain for that to do any good.

      3.  That the democrat party is a criminal organization, and that any members of that party shall either give oath utterly repudiating it and its activities and declaring their allegiance to the Constitution, or else be deported for life.  Oh, who am I fooling?  Put ’em all on a boat; the word of a democrat is worthless.

      4.  That the 9th and 10th Amendments mean exactly what they f*cking say, and therefore the vast majority of the federal government and its powers are unconstitutional and will be dismantled immediately, and those powers, agencies, and responsibilities will devolve back to the several States and the people… if they really want them.

      That makes a good start.  Hey, this deeming laws to be passed without having to actually vote on them is pretty cool after all!

      Say… Can the Congress deem a bill to be law even without the president’s signature?  For that matter, do we even have to have written laws any more?  Can’t we just deem a law to exist and sort of fill in the blanks as needed later?  The dems seem to think so.

      Boy, there are all KINDS of possibilities here!

      / sarc

    • I’ve deemed that my taxes are paid for the next 50 years.
      Let’s see how that works

      • Tell you what though, the 1st things the GOP house needs to do is use every trick to get Pelosi. Ethics investigations, censure motions, etc.  Use every trick in the book to hound her out of office. 

  • I was just wondering, do state governors have the authority to call congress critters back to the state for emergency consultation/meetings? If so could a Repub governor call a Dem congress member back in order to miss a vote?

  • Many persons do not have a computer or want access to one one; so, computer technology is lacking many votes that are for heath care.
    Heath care should be provided to all.  Our country’s motto is “United we Stand and Divided we Fall”.  We do not show good-will in late December, only.  Another term, we are our brother’s keeper.
    Our ancestors were part of the New Deal that proved heroes.   Social Security and Medicare have been put in place subsidize or help the seniors that have provided America so much of themselves.  I also, think these seniors deserve more.
    Just because we can not see those suffering from where we are, it does not mean it is not so.  You may be okay today and be the one suffering tomorrow.  Who will help you if no one stands together.
    The republicans are manipulating because the wealthy will pay the higher tax.  Those are the ones with access to air wave reporting.  How much do you pay your insurance, how much do you pay your doctor.  It is less if the money pooled.
    I think it is sad some of the Democrats that have been voted in are scared and lacking the grit to say a firm YES, when confronted by persons that have the leisure to visit at will; the said same that will have their taxes increased.
    The republicans are saying democrats will not be re-elected; but, I think there will be many republicans that will be replaced.