Politics

Democrats close in on the votes for health-care reform

Democrats appeared to be closing in Monday on achieving support from enough lawmakers in the House to pass a historic and sweeping health-care reform bill, though the outcome was still far from certain.

President Obama signaled said that while Democrats do not yet have the 216 votes they need in the House, he believes the votes will be there when they need to be.

“I believe we are going to get the votes. We are going to make this happen,” Obama said after a rally in Cleveland, during a brief interview with Jake Tapper of ABC News.

Hours later on Capitol Hill, a high-ranking House Democrat said the votes were, in fact, there.

“I believe we have the votes and that we will get this bill done this week,” said Rep. John Larson, the Connecticut Democrat and chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. He offered no details to verify his claim, but an aide clarified that his intent was more of a prediction than an statement of current conditions.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, was similarly confident.

“When we bring the bill to the floor, we will have the votes,” she said at an afternoon press conference.

Meanwhile, the small group of rank-and-file House Democrats whose votes will decide the matter ran from reporters as they exited the House chamber following a vote late Monday.

The Daily Caller caught seven House Democrats on their way out of the chamber who voted against the health-care bill in November but have yet to commit which way they’ll vote this time and are considered likely to switch their vote – Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Brian Baird of Washington, John Barrow of Georgia, Glenn Nye of Virginia, John Tanner of Tennessee, Allen Boyd of Florida and John Boccieri of Ohio.

All but Boyd and Boccieri refused to make any comment.

“No please, no please,” Barrow said in response to repeated questions about whether he will vote for or against the bill.

“I am not interested in talking,” Murphy said.

“I don’t have anything to say,” said Altmire.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio Democrat who had been a definite no up until Obama flew him to the Cleveland rally on board Air Force One, also declined to comment to The Daily Caller on his way out of the chamber.