Opinion

Who are the swing votes for ObamaCare?

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

Anyone following the health care debate knows the action is once again in the House of Representatives. Because both chambers must pass identical bills—everything now hinges on whether or not the Senate version (which passed on Christmas Eve) can also pass the House. The president hopes the bill will by law by March 18.

Presumably, if the House were to pass the Senate version, a compromise version (essentially, President Obama’s plan) would then be adopted by a simple majority vote in both chambers before the president signs the bill into law.

Back in November, the House bill passed by a vote of 220-215. At the time, Democrats needed 218 votes for passage. This time around, Rep. John Murtha’s death and a handful of retirements mean fewer House Members are eligible to vote. As such, Democrats will need just 216 votes to pass a bill. The most recent and high profile example of a member no longer eligible to vote is Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.), who voted against health care reform back in November. He now says he’s being forced out of office for that reason.

Analysts hoping to handicap the vote will have a difficult time doing so. I’ve seen plenty of MSMers “cheering” for the bill to pass, but giving an honest appraisal of its chances is another story. There are too many moving parts. For example, there are about 28 members who voted “aye” in November, but—based on recent statements and changing variables—may vote “no” this time. Conversely, there are approximately 16 “no” votes that could easily switch the other way. Simply put, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen.

Perhaps the most pressing problem Democrats face regards the ever-controversial issue of abortion. Back in November, Democrats were only able to a pass health care bill because Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) successfully inserted language restricting the use of federal funds for abortions. But the Senate version has no such language.

Aside from Stupak, himself, there are thirteen House Members who voted for the House Bill, but now oppose the Senate version for this reason. Stupak’s bloc includes Rep. Joseph Cao (La.), the lone Republican who voted for the bill. The remaining dozen Democrats include Reps. Dale Kildee (Mich.), Jim Oberstar (Minn.), Charlie Wilson (Ohio), Dennis Cardoza (Calif.), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio), Bill Foster (Ill.), Dan Lipinski (Ill.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Jerry Costello (Ill.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Chris Carney (Pa.), and Solomon Ortiz (Texas). Because this is a bloc of 14 votes, it is hard to imagine a scenario where health care could pass if this bloc votes no.

  • novacancy13

    Why can’t anyone just say it plainly? The Republican Party works for corporate America. These politicians are simply lobbyists with government titles. Every time President Obama looks to tame industry, carbon levels, Wall Street, health insurance companies, and lobbyists, the Republicans, come riding to their collective rescue. It has been proven over and over again that they are the mantle holder for the wealthiest Americans. Their recent president almost destroyed our Country. They have completely duped the Christian community into thinking that they are God’s choice, despite the clear indicators that they are not in any sense, good for this nation. There is only one answer; this Party clearly understands the power of propaganda. This is clearly seen in their control of media. I am appalled at the continued slandering of this President and his populace protecting agenda, they have the gall to claim the word “patriotic”. They called this Nation’s elected President a liar on National Television, what a neat sound bite for the Republican distortion based machine. Distortion rhymes with extortion by the way. Make no mistake about it, “We the people…” do not run this nation, a wise populace can not keep pandering to corporate America’s defiant and ultimate inner circle obstructionist’s; The Republican Party. American’s listen to me! That is their job, they are paid handsomely, oh, by our tax dollar’s too!, to do what they do, to protect the nations elite, the untouchables.(The number one example is the Dick Cheney and Haliburton affair, the love is deep and unquestionable!) 97% of us are sacrificed for the peak dwelling 3%. Check the French Revolution! Stop being powerless! Get behind your President, stop listening to the “fear” mongers, tune them out, this man means to protect us, the 97%, you and I, the non-privileged. Republican’s and corporate America have never been so hard pressed to create “fear” and “illusions”.

    WAKE UP AMERICA, vastly intelligent and honest world leaders are far and few between.

    Apocalyptic Ego Blizzard