Both Boyd and Boccieri had reasons to talk. Boyd wanted to explain why he had voted earlier Monday against passing the reconciliation “fix” to the Senate bill out of the House Budget Committee, saying it was because it included provisions related to a change in how college loans are provided.
But Boyd said that if the final bill that he is asked to consider later this week meets his criteria for fiscal responsibility and other benchmarks, he will “seriously consider voting for this legislation.”
Boccieri appeared to signal to many earlier in the day Monday that he was leaning against voting for the bill, when he skipped the president’s event in his home state even though he was nearby.
The Ohio Democrat said he didn’t go to the rally because it “wasn’t in my district,” and defended the Senate bill vigorously, sounding ready to vote for it.
“I think this version of health-care reform is going to pass,” he said. “At the end of the day we’ve got to decide if we do nothing or if we move an imperfect bill.”
Boccieri said he was “very pleased” that the Senate bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will reduce the deficit by $132 billion during its first 10 years. He said that the argument by Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, that the bill actually would add $460 billion to the deficit amounted to “fuzzy math.”
Boccieri did not have an answer when asked about the fear many Americans have that expanding coverage to 30 million who currently do not have health insurance, through government subsidies, will only add to the government’s growing problem with unfunded entitlement programs.
He said that “not all” of the 30 million Americans without insurance will be given government subsidies, “unless they lose their job and are looking for coverage.”
Still, Boccieri insisted he had not yet made up his mind.
Overall, however, if Pelosi is able to flip the seven Democrats interviewed by The Daily Caller, plus a few others – Suzanne Kosmas of Florida and Bart Gordon of Tennessee are two – and limit the number of defections among pro-life and fiscally conservative Democrats who voted for the bill the first time, she will likely pass the bill.
Three different polls were released Monday by stakeholders and advocates. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ran surveys in 10 key congressional districts — including Boyd’s, Altmire’s and Nye’s — that showed strong opposition to Obama’s proposal.
The Chamber poll of 400 registered voters, conducted by Ayres, McHenry & Associates, showed the average breakdown in the 10 districts to be about roughly 60 percent opposed and 30 percent in favor.
The Service Employees International Union released its own poll that it said showed the need for lawmakers to stop acting out of self-interest and to start acting in the best interests of the country – a line similar to Obama’s own at his rally in Cleveland. SEIU did not release the actual questions and answers from the poll, making it harder to judge the results.
And two conservative groups – Independent Women’s Voice and the polling company, inc./WomanTrend – released a survey that targeted 35 key congressional districts with questions that were designed to put the president’s proposal in a negative light.
Much of the procedural debate on Monday was focused on the “Slaughter solution” — an arcane maneuver in which House Democrats would “deem” the Senate bill passed once they voted for reconciliation and avoid an up-or-down vote on the bill itself.
House Republicans disseminated a Wall Street Journal op-ed by former federal judge Michael W. McConnell arguing that the “Slaughter solution” would violate Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution.
Democrats dismissed this argument.
“Any bill that moves — including the health-care reform bill — will be voted on first and need to pass with majority support,” said Vincent Morris, spokesman for House Rules Committee Chairman Louise Slaughter, New York Democrat.
“I think folks who are trying to attack this process on Constitutional grounds don’t actually understand how Congress works.”