Critical Condition

They Still Don’t Have the Votes

The most likely explanation for the breakdown of talks between Rep. Bart Stupak and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not that Pelosi decided she didn’t need Stupak and his crew in order to have enough votes to pass Obamacare. Rather, it is that Stupak — who is increasingly emerging as this drama’s Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart’s heroic character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) — held firm in insisting on language that would truly prevent taxpayer-funded abortions, and in insisting that such language be passed by the Senate before the bill could become law.

In turn, Pelosi either decided that by accepting the language, she would lose more votes in the House than she would gain, or else knew that Democratic senators, with their strong preference for taxpayer-funded abortion, would never go along with this concession to the views of the vast majority of Americans. 

In any event, by all accounts, Pelosi is now trying to pass the bill without the pro-life Democratic vote — or at least without Stupak. As of now, it doesn’t appear that she has the votes. I currently count 208 leaning in favor of Obamacare and 214 leaning against, with 9 undecided. Here they are — with the margin by which the presidential vote was won (by one party or the other) in their districts over the last three elections:

 • Marion Berry (D., Ark.) (GOP +8) — pro-Stupak Amendment

 • Henry Cuellar (D., Tex.) (Dem +1) — pro-Stupak Amendment

 • Bill Foster (D., Ill.) (GOP +4)

 • Jim Matheson (D., Utah) (GOP +30) — with nearly two-thirds of his constituents having supported GOP presidential candidates over the last three elections, a “yes” vote on Stupak, and an earlier “no” vote on Obamacare, a “yes” vote would mean that, for the rest of his days, he would be remembered as the guy who sold his vote for the price of Obama’s having just nominated his brother to a federal judgeship

 • Michael Michaud (D., Me.) (Dem +7) — pro-Stupak Amendment

 • Solomon Ortiz (D., Tex.) (GOP +1) — pro-Stupak Amendment

 • Earl Pomeroy (D., N.D.) (GOP +21) — pro-Stupak Amendment — yes, that’s GOP +21

 • Nick Rahall (D., W.V.) (GOP +6) — pro-Stupak Amendment

 • Zach Space (D., Ohio) (GOP +12) — pro-Stupak Amendment

Also, here is a partial list of some particularly key members who are leaning “no”:

 • Christopher Carney (D., Pa.) (GOP +15) — pro-Stupak Amendment

 • Dan Lipinski (D., Ill.) (Dem +22) — pro-Stupak Amendment

 • Kathleen Dahlkemper (D., Pa.) (GOP +3) — pro-Stupak Amendment

 • Glenn Nye (D., Va.) (GOP +9) — “no” last time

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