The Swing House Health Care Votes

From The Marston Chronicles

There are a couple of reports from Representative Dreier and Michael Barone saying that Speaker Pelosi is ten votes shy of the 216 votes needed to pass her new version of health care reform. Because there are only 253 Democrats in the House out of a present 431 members, it takes 216 votes to pass a bill. This means that Pelosi cannot lose more than 37 votes since all the 178 Republicans are opposed. Since she is short 10 votes, that means that 47 Democrats are telling her they cannot vote for the bill. That brings up the question of which members are in this group of 47 no votes.

As we pointed out in our last article on this subject, The Case of the Missing House Health Care Votes, which we have updated, the ones in play are pretty well known. The Hill lists 36 people as being in various classes of no votes. We have identified 24 as being pretty firm no's:

John Barrow (GA-12), Dan Boren (OK-2), Rick Boucher (VA-9), Allen Boyd (FL-2), Bobby Bright (AL-2), Ben Chandler (KY-6), Travis Childers (MS-1), Arthus Davis (AL-7), Lincoln Davis (TN-4), Chet Edwards (TX-17), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD-AL), Tim Holden (PA-17), Larry Kissell (NC-8), Frank Kratovil (MD-1), Jim Marshall (GA-8), Mike McIntyre (NC-7), Mike McMahon (NY-13), Charlie Melancon (LA-3), Walt Minnick (ID-1), Collin Peterson (MN-7), Mike Ross (AR-4), Heath Schuler (NC-11), Ike Skelton (MO-4) and Gene Taylor (MS-4).

That leaves another 12 in the leaning no category according to The Hill. Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics has also been running a tally and he now agrees with the Hill with the exception of Luis Guttierrez. That leaves us with 11 in this category:

John Adler (NJ-3), Michael Arcuri (NY-24), Marion Berry (AR-1), Christopher Carney (PA-10), Jerry Costello (IL-12), Joe Donnelly (IN-2), Steve Driehaus (OH-1), Daniel Lipinski (IL-3), Jim Matheson (UT-2), John Tanner (TN-8) and Harry Teague (NM-2). We can now add Steve Lynch (MA-9) to this group now.

Next we have the members who voted no the first time who are not in the first two groups of 35 members. With the exception of Dennis Kucinich and Bart Gordon who flipped to yes, these members remain uncommitted:

Jason Altmire (PA-4), Brian Baird (WA-3), John Boccieri (OH-16), Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24), Betsey Markey (CO-4), Scott Murphy (NY-20) and Glenn Nye (VA-2).

That gives us a total of 42 out of the 47 probable no votes. The 5 remaining ones are probably among the ones on Jay Cost's likely list that are not included already. They are:

Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3), Brad Ellsworth (IN-8), Baron Hill (IN-9), Paul Kanjorski (PA-11) and Tom Pierrello (VA-5).

The bottom line is that we are down to these last two groups of a dozen people whose votes will decide this issue. The weakest of these is Brian Baird because he is retiring and therefore is not vulnerable to losing the November election unlike the other eleven. Brad Ellsworth is running to replace Senator Bayh and he is behind in the polls so voting yes in Indiana would not be a wise move. The best reason for the remaining ten to vote no is that they will lose if they vote yes. Here is a table showing why they should do that:

Seat Margin
CQ Pol Cook
Tom Perriello
VA-5 0.23%
D toss-up
R toss-up
Scott Murphy
NY-20 0.45%
Likely D
Likely D
D favored
Kathy Dahlkemper
PA-3 2.47%
Leans D
Likely D
Safe D
Baron Hill IN-9 4.52%
Leans D
D toss-up
Leans D
Paul Kanjorski
PA-11 3.25%
Leans D
Leans D
D favored
Glenn Nye
VA-2 4.94%
Leans D
D toss-up
D toss-up
Jason Altmire
PA-4 11.72%
Likely D
Likely D
D favored
John Boccieri
OH-16 10.73%
Likely D
Leans D
D favored
Betsey Markey
CO-4 12.39%
D toss-up
Suzanne Kosmas
FL-24 16.09% -1.95% 52.7%
Leans D Leans D D toss-up

Notice that six of them won by less than a five percent margin. Of the remaining four, notice the minus sign in the Obama column which means that McCain-Palin carried their district. Yes, the other analysts are saying that all but Perriello and Markey do not have a problem, but the figures do not warrant such a conclusion as you can see for yourself. That is especially true in this banner year for the Republicans unlike 2008 which was a horrible year for them.

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