The Campaign Spot

Normally, Wisconsin and New York Democrats Wouldn’t Be Sweating a Health-Care Vote

You see comments like this one from Rep. Steve Kagan of Wisconsin, previously a yes vote on health care:

“Let me put it this way: you’re asking whether or not I trust the United States Senate, where they came up with a deal for Nebraska that the other states didn’t get; where Louisiana would get a special deal. No, I don’t trust the U.S. Senate,” said Rep. Steve Kagen (D-8th District). “So I think I’d like to have a vote on something very meaningful.”

Kagen said the health care bill should be split up into smaller bills.

“I have made the case to the speaker and also to the White House that we should take small pieces, small bites,” Kagen said. “In the practice of medicine, I can’t give a child a big pill. What do we do? We cut it up into pieces. Let’s find things we can agree on.”

Or this one, from Rep. Michael Arcuri of New York, another yes vote:

President Obama has once again called on Congress to get moving on passing a health care reform bill. On Sunday, Congressman Michael Arcuri of Utica says he intends to vote no on the Senate’s version of the bill as it stands now.

Or this one, from Rep. Dan Maffei of New York, another yes vote:

“I will trust the president, but I will not trust the Senate,” Maffei said. “The Senate bill, in my view, burns the village in order to save it. I will say, however, the president’s direct involvement gives me hope they will come up with a compromise.”

Or this one, from Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, another yes vote:

Cuellar said he is worried about the bill’s impact on farmers and ranchers. Employers have said they would face financial stress if they are forced to buy health insurance for their workers.
“As an (agriculture committee) member I have a lot of rural areas that I have to contend with,” he said. “They had a problem with seasonal workers. I think it does address the issue, but we are still looking at it. We are trying to get more information on that.”

And I start to wonder if the House will ever vote on the Senate bill at all. Obviously, most of these guys won by healthy margins last time (Arcuri won by 4), and they’re generally down-the-line Democrats. But if they’re making noises that they can’t be counted on as automatic “yes” votes, how is Pelosi going to flip the dozen or so she needs to make up for the Stupak Democrats?