Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pelosi Strikes a Deal With Stupak - Chaos Ensues UPDATE

UPDATE: Press conference cancelled Stupak is finished with Pelosi Ooooh.

That Rep. Brad Ellsworth would be walking the plank for ObamaCare could mean one of two things. Either the desperate Dems were short votes or were there with no room to spare.  As Ellsworth is Congressman from Indiana running to fill Evan Bayh's Senate seat, it seems unlikely a vote for ObamaCare would do much to spur his election chances along. The subsequent announcement Rep Harry Teague (NM) would vote no, makes clear the Democrats were not flush with yes votes with room to spare as they would have us believe.  Though Teague faces a tough re-election, given the choice between losing a seat in the House vs a seat in the House and the Senate, Teague's seat seems more expendable.

Clearly, Pelosi was up against a wall.  Hence we have the news she struck a deal with Bart Stupak to have a vote on  his amendment in a tie-car legislation co-sponsored by Marion Berry, Sanford Bishop, Joseph Cao, Kathy Dahlkemper, Steve Driehaus, Marcy Kaptur, Dan Lipinski, Alan Mollohan, and Nick Rahall.  The co-sponsors appear to be previous yes votes who were members of Stupak's block.  Cao, the lone Republican remains a committed no vote but  the remaining 8 have voted yes previously and are in far better positions than someone like Ellsworth to cast a vote for the bill now.

Yet another reason to suspect Pelosi needed those Stupak votes was the chaos that followed the assorted leaks spreading the  news of the potential vote on Stupak's Concurrent Resolution amending abortion language.    Jane Hamsher writes:
Pro-choice members of the House, however, are demanding that the vote on the Concurrent Resolution happen before the House confirms the Senate bill. If in fact it passes, they plan to vote against confirming the Senate bill. They want Rep. Diana Degette to release the names of the 41 cosigners to her letter who pledged to vote against any bill that restricts a woman’s right to choose, and they are angry that the White House has been whipping to push through the Stupak deal.

“It is outrageous that a Democratic Speaker, a Democratic Majority Leader and a Democratic President should support rolling back women’s reproductive rights,” says one member of the group.
It seems most unlikely Pelosi invited this chaos merely to have extra votes for show.  If Pelosi had her votes,  they'd be voting as has been said many times.   Allahpundit thinks Pelosi might be looking  to have spare votes so she can set a few serious plank walkers free.  Anyone who switches from a yes to a no at this point has already declared their allegiance to party first.  It is not beyond Democrats, however, to think no one will notice this nonsense so anything is possible.

Stupak seems to think he has a viable strategy and the votes to pass a Concurrent Resolution on abortion in the House and Senate.  This should be treated  with some skepticism, but Pelosi appears willing to give him the vote.  The good news, the progressives led by Rep. Diana Degette are demanding the vote take place prior to the vote on reconciliation that will deem the Senate bill into law.  Degette claims to have the votes to prevent passage of the reconciliation bill should Stupak's bill pass.  Stupak, however, claims he is confident he has the votes to pass his Concurrent Resolution after the reconciliation vote takes place.  Personally, if Stupak's vote has the progressive women in this much of an uproar, by all means demand Stupak's vote goes first.  Let the internal Dem squabbling implode this bill to smithereens.  Stupak is giving a press conference at 11 AM, we'll soon find out how this plays out.   I am hoping for a cat fight or two and lots of chaos on the sides.

More on this at Memeorandum

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