News on the health care bill vote count is coming in fast and furious this morning. The Democratic Caucus will officially meet today at 1 PM EST. After that meeting the House of Representatives will meet. Three votes will take place. First they will vote on the rule to set up the framework for debate on the bill. This vote is relative unimportant though it will be a signal of who is on board and who is not. Next will come a debate on the Senate bill and debate on the reconciliation “fix” to the bill. A second vote will then be held on the reconciliation “fix” and then finally another vote will be held on the Senate bill. The last of these votes is by far most important. If the Senate bill gets 216 votes it will only lack the President’s signature before it becomes law. That last vote is expected to take place anywhere between 5-8 PM EST though things could get delayed even more.
So where is the vote count? The most honest answer is no one knows. Most stories are trending for Democrats to pass the bill but no one has a hard list of 216 members who are committed to vote for the bill. Here are the latest updates.
Update (3:48 PM EST): Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) has reportedly struck a deal with President Obama to vote for the bill. Rep. Stupak was a key pro-life lawmaker who had threatened to vote against the bill and get others to join him. His vote for the bill all but ensures the Democrats have the 216 votes they need to pass the bill.
(1) Intrade currently lists the chances of passage at 90.1%. Intrade is a website which allows people to buy and sell credits based on predictions in the future. Some people consider Intrade very reliable and others say it is susceptible to manipulation and not a good predictor of future events. The 90.1% is up significantly from yesterday.
(2) CNN has a list of every Democrat and their current status on the bill. They list 33 “no” votes on the bill right now. If Republicans can find 38 “no” votes from Democrats the vote will fail.
(3) The Chairman of the Democratic Caucus, Rep. John Larson (D-Conn), said this morning that the Democrats do have the 216 votes they need. He was very adamant that the Democrats have the votes right now to pass the bill. However he did not reveal any list of commitments he had.
(4) In the same report from MSNBC report House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) and Rep. Debbie Waserman Shultz both predicted that Democrats would exceed the minimum total of 216 needed to pass the bill but also acknowledged they were sitll waiting for commitments from some members.
(5) The New York Times has a list of the still undeclared Democrats and a vote count for each side. They list 209 current “yes” votes for the bill with 207 “no” votes and 15 members still undeclared. A number of undeclared Democrats are former “yes” votes and also come from strong Democratic districts which is good news for supporters of the bill.
(6) Finally House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has said that Democrats do not have the votes they need right now to pass the bill. Rep. Boehner is probably not the greatest source for counting the votes of Democrats.
Conclusion: Most people in the know believe Democrats will find the 216 votes they need to pass the bill. Having said that there are still doubts since no one has a list of 216 names which are definite “yes” votes for the bill. Democrats seem confident they have 216 they simply do not know all the names that will add up to that tally.
space counter” >
For more info: A plain language summary of the health care reform bill.