The Campaign Spot

Pelosi Can’t Have Much More Than 197 Certain ‘Yes’ Votes

A lot of people are wondering, justifiably, about the count in the House. Jay Cost and Reid Wilson have made serious efforts, and I hear the NRCC will be upgrading a new site that spotlights those Democrat members who are wavering and who face the toughest reelection bids next year.

But in the end, any given lawmaker’s statement of “I have problems with the Senate version” is not quite ironclad. After all, wavering votes will be offered the world and their brothers will be offered positions in the federal judiciary; when that fails, Rahm Emanuel will pop up in their showers like Norman Bates.

So here’s what is absolutely certain: Of the 220 “yes” votes, three are gone from Congress with their seats currently empty (Wexler, Abercrombie, and Murtha) and one has said, definitively, he will flip to no (Cao).

That takes the ‘yes’ votes to 216.

Of the 215 previous “no” votes, Nathan Deal is sticking around, Eric Massa is gone (214), and Cao has been added to their ranks. This brings them back to 215.

In other words, right now Pelosi cannot permit anyone who voted “yes” to flip. If every “yes” vote stays on board, she can pass the bill.

Obviously, there are a lot of Democrats who voted “yes” in the fall who have indicated that they want to vote “no” or are considering voting no: Jerry McNerney, Steve Kagan, Henry Cuellar, Kathy Dahlkemper, Dan Lipinski, Marion Berry, Baron Hill, Brad Ellsworth, Dina Titus, Michael Arcuri, Dennis Cardoza, James Oberstar, Bart Stupak, Shelley Berkeley, Dan Maffei, Earl Pomeroy, Nick Rahall, John Spratt and Kurt Schrader. There are probably more, but that’s a starting 19.

There are a very few “no” votes who are talking about flipping to “yes.” Occasionally, you’ll hear someone make vague noises about this, but I haven’t seen anything definitive. Bart Gordon’s a possibility, as is Brian Baird.

UPDATE: I can see the argument that Arcuri sounds as definitive as Cao. So there may be 216 “no” votes.

The NRCC’s “Code Red” site puts it at No: 190 Yes: 192 Undecided: 49.

Liberal site FireDogLake puts the count at No: 191 Yes: 193.