That looks like a major departure from my last whip count. That’s because there’s been a major development. House leaders have given up on trying to please Bart Stupak and will try to pass a bill without him and his bloc:
House leaders have concluded they cannot change a divisive abortion provision in President Barack Obama’s health care bill and will try to pass the sweeping legislation without the support of ardent anti-abortion Democrats [...]
Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said the leadership will press ahead without reworking the abortion provision, which opponents say falls short in restricting taxpayer dollars for abortion coverage. He predicted some of the anti-abortion lawmakers in the party will end up voting for the overhaul anyway.
House leaders had no choice, really. The reconciliation strategy made it basically impossible to change the abortion language in this go-round; Senate Republicans made it very clear that they would vote against any effort to waive the point of order with respect to abortion; and Stupak rejected a third bill because he didn’t trust the House or Senate to actually follow through.
Waxman may be right that many anti-choice Dems will vote for the bill anyway, and surely the tactic will move to persuading them that there’s little daylight between the House and Senate provisions. That’s what got Dale Kildee to flip, although an anti-choice site thinks they got him to flip back (note the language; sure Kildee has “not decided to vote” on anything, but he’s clearly disassociated himself, on the record, with the Stupak bloc). But there are seven confirmed members of the Stupak bloc, and given this strategy, you have to put them into the No column at this point.
That means that there are 202 seemingly firm no votes against the bill, at least in advance of any other data coming in. In addition:
• Tim Holden (D-PA), who voted against the bill last time, says he’s a no vote again.
• I’m going to offset this by moving Mike Arcuri (D-NY) back to undecided. He’s made some public statements to the contrary, but I have enough information to suggest that he could easily come back to the leadership’s position in the end.
• Carl Cameron raises the spectre of Sanford Bishop, Richard Neal and Tim Ryan to vote against the bill because of the abortion language, but I’m extremely dubious that they would flip, so I’ll keep an eye out, but they’re not off the Yes board yet.
UPDATE: I see Michael Capuano (D-MA) is leaning no, according to TPMDC’s reading of a letter to constituents. While the letter is quite substantive, the word “no” doesn’t appear in it, and progressives have simply been far too accommodating throughout this process for me to suspect that they would vote no now after voting yes throughout. Excepting Kucinich, I just don’t see it happening.
Add that up and you have 189 Yes and 202 No. Crucially, with the Stupak die cast, and the determination to go around him set, Nancy Pelosi and the leadership has a tremendous job ahead of them. They’re going to have to hold basically all the “Yes” votes from last time not associated with the Stupak bloc, and convert as many as 12 “No” votes. She says she has the votes, but I really don’t know if that can be done.
The raw totals, on the flip:
18 Democrats who voted No in November:
Bobby Bright, Mike McIntyre, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Walt Minnick, Artur Davis, Chet Edwards, Frank Kratovil, Mike Ross, Dan Boren, Gene Taylor, Larry Kissell, Dennis Kucinich, Collin Peterson, Ike Skelton, Jim Marshall, Mike McMahon, Charlie Melancon, Tim Holden.
7 Democrats & Republicans who voted Yes in November (confirmed Stupak bloc):
Bart Stupak, Marion Berry, Dan Lipinski, Kathy Dahlkemper, Joe Donnelly, Joseph Cao (R), Steve Driehaus.
19 potential Democratic No-Yes flip votes:
Jason Altmire, Bart Gordon, Glenn Nye, Brian Baird, John Tanner, Rick Boucher, Allen Boyd, John Boccieri, Suzanne Kosmas, Betsy Markey, John Adler, Scott Murphy, Lincoln Davis, Jim Matheson.
5 less possible:
Travis Childers, Harry Teague, Heath Shuler (severe lean no), John Barrow, Tim Holden, Ben Chandler.
21 potential Yes-No flip votes:
4 additional Stupak bloc (rumored):
Charlie Wilson, Brad Ellsworth, Marcy Kaptur, Jerry Costello.
17 other wary Democrats:
Mike Arcuri, Zack Space, Chris Carney, Mike Doyle, Paul Kanjorski, Ann Kirkpatrick, Alan Mollohan, Nick Rahall, Dan Maffei, Bill Owens, John Spratt, Dennis Cardoza, James Oberstar, Baron Hill, Solomon Ortiz, Gabrielle Giffords, Earl Pomeroy.