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March 16, 2010

Jay Cost Won't Do a Vote Count, But Will Call Pelosi's Hurdle "An Enormous Challenge"

He notes he can't do a "whip count" because most of these people aren't saying which way they'll vote. And some, like Guitierrez, say they'll vote "no" but will likely vote "yes."

So there's not a lot of quotably-conclusory stuff here -- but he does list all the trouble spots for Pelosi.

The Hill has 37 Democrats in the "Firm No, Leaning No, Likely No" category. I agree with 36 of these 37 (Update 12 noon: Or, better put, 36 of 37 seem plausible to me). The only objection I have is Luis Gutierrez, and that's not a criticism of The Hill. He says he's a no, which is why he's there. I think he's going to be a yes when push comes to shove.

Then I go down to their list of Undecideds, and I see plenty who could very well wind up as no votes. Here are the top 11...

Well, 39 Democrats voted against it last time, and it passed 220-215. Plus, Democrats have lost three yeses, but their threshold dropped by one to 216.

So... The thing is, he's right. Democrats are right on the knife's edge of having enough votes to pass this -- it really depends on how many of those supposed "firm nos" remain nos, and how many of Stupak's Dozen remain strong on the Stupak language.

Of course we know they don't have the votes at the moment; you can bet the moment they do they'll call a vote within minutes. Hoyer rejected a fellow Democrats' claim that they have the votes:

After shooting down GOP arguments against a rule to “deem” the Senate healthcare bill passed without a roll call vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) took a moment to shoot down the optimism of one of his fellow leaders about the Democrat’s whip count.

Toward the end of his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Hoyer was asked about competing whip counts from James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the Democratic Whip, and Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.).

On Monday night, Larson emerged from a Caucus meeting to declare that he believed “the votes are there” for healthcare.

...

But Larson’s statement immediately made him the highest-ranking optimist in the Democratic ranks.

Over the weekend, Clyburn said that Democrats are still short votes, by his count. In a Tuesday interview with McClatchy Newspapers, Clyburn said that he “thinks” he’ll get 216 votes. But in that interview Clyburn also said that he “wouldn’t bet” on the House actually taking the healthcare vote prior to the Easter recess, let alone by Sunday.

...

“The whip is responsible for counting the votes,” Hoyer said. “And I will defer to Mr. Clyburn’s judgment on that issue.”

Stupak: My Own Whip Count Is Still 12: Stupak says that unlike Clyburn, Hoyer, or Pelosi, he does have the votes.


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posted by Ace at 03:30 PM

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