A Democratic leadership aide says Minority Whip Steny Hoyer isn’t formally whipping against the “keep your plan” bill from Representative Fred Upton on the House floor today, a significant sign of weakness from a Democratic leadership that is obviously desperate to keep down the number of defections.
Caucus chairman Xavier Becerra noted to reporters last night that Democrats have held two full caucus meetings over the last couple days and there are extensive efforts to “educate” Democrats on the perceived perils of the bill. Hoyer will be recommending a “no” vote on it, and top Democrats are also pushing hard to prevent Democrats from voting “yes.”
But without formally whipping the bill, there’s less of an official party position. Democratic leadership obviously want its members to vote against the bill, generally speaking, but they’re avoiding the formal whipping process because there are enough members who want to vote for the bill and wouldn’t appreciate its being deemed a question of party loyalty.
A senior Republican aide predicts 40 to 50 Democratic defections. An earlier bill to authorize President Obama’s extra-legal delay of the employer mandate secured 35 Democratic votes.