Bloggers are wondering whether a health overhaul bill can actually pass — and most are focused on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ability to drum up enough votes in the House.
Time’s Karen Tumulty says Democratic lawmakers are caught in a “prisoners’ dilemma.” According to Tumulty, “Every endangered member will be trying to figure out not only his or her own vote, but also which way colleagues are likely to go. This one is going to be so difficult to predict–right up until the very last minute.”
Five Thirty Eight’s poll reader extraordinaire Nate Silver points out that InTrade’s bettors set the bill’s odds for passage at just better than even — which has moved up “fairly significantly in the past 72 hours.” Silver examines what’s changed in the last several weeks, and decides: “That’s a lot of evidence to weigh. My head says yes — Pelosi will squeak this through — while my gut frankly says no. Either way, I’m not sure there’s a lot of arbitrage against that 52 percent number at Intrade, but I’d hesitate to call the bill a favorite to pass.”
Health Beat’s Maggie Mahar says she’s “all but certain” that a health overhaul bill will pass. Her reasoning? “Unless the president and Pelosi have signed a secret political suicide pact, they wouldn’t be doing this unless they were quite sure they could pull it off. ”
Huffington Post’s Sam Stein reports that Democratic leaders estimate they are short between 6-12 votes in the House, so “To convince these lawmakers, House leadership is preparing a whip operation described as “all hands on deck.” Pelosi and Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) will dispatch loyal lieutenants to help rub elbows and twist arms. Once the party settles on a final set of reconciliation changes, leaders in the labor community are set to launch a major campaign to help with the whipping, officials say.”
Slate’s Chris Beam explains how a Congressional whip actually works: “They count votes. The principle task of a party whip, formally known as ‘assistant party leader,’ is to keep track of the number of votes for and against a piece of legislation. They’re also responsible, along with the party’s leader, for “whipping up” support for a particular position.”
The American Spectator’s Philip Klein notes that a resigning Republican House member is delaying leaving his post so he can vote no on health reform, which means Pelosi still needs 217 votes to pass a bill.
But Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey thinks another scenario altogther may unfold: “The real nightmare scenario isn’t that the House might pass the Senate bill now, or in April. It’s that Democrats might get stymied now, and then pass the Senate bill after the midterms in late November, and allow Obama to sign it into law well after the time when voters have held them accountable for their radical agenda.”