The Speaker’s flip-flops are catching up with her.
And the strangeness is starting to show (see the video): we have to pass the Senate bill so the public can see what is in it.
Her famed control over house members minds is fading: She supported Chairman Rangel right up until she dumped him. She did not have the muscle to impose upon the Ways and Means Committee, her choice of Chairman.
And on ObamaCare, the Speaker insisted the Senate go first, that she could not pass the Senate bill, that the House would not be a rubber stamp for the Senate, and that the Senate must prove it will act as she says it will, which is for the Senate to change their own bill into a bill the House wants. Uh, huh.
But the Speaker has flipped on all of it. Now, the House will go first, the House will pass the Senate bill without changing it (i.e. rubber stamp) and the House will act without proof the Senate will actually act in the way the House wants it to act.
Furthermore, the Speaker must now insist the following will not happen: the White House will not take the House passed Senate bill, sign it, declare victory, and move onto jobs.
The Speaker must argue that the Senate and the White House will put itself through months of more ObamaCare political pain, by letting the Republicans bog down the bill in the Senate, in a huge fight that will be another example of the Dems changing the rules and ignoring the public to pass a bill independent voters and seniors hate.
But assuming you believe that reality will be suspended — that the irrational is rational — and the White House and the Senate will act to bail out the House from passing a bill they don’t agree with, then there is the immovable Byrd rule problem on any abortion “fix.”
The Bryd rule prohibits legislating on a reconciliation bill. The rule is named after the still-serving Senator Byrd (D-WV). Sixty votes are needed to over-ride the Byrd rule on reconciliation. Both the Byrd rule and Senator Byrd himself stands directly in the path of legislating on abortion on any reconciliation bill.
You see, Senator Byrd is very vigorous in his support of the Byrd rule. He will vote with the 41 Republicans to enforce the Byrd rule. And the Byrd rule is very clear on abortion — precedents have been set — you cannot legislate on abortion on a reconciliation bill.
Add the Byrd rule vote count to the GOP’s clear and recently made public stance of upholding the abortion rule precedent on reconciliation, and the idea that abortion will be addressed or “fixed” in the Senate is, well, simply not possible.
And there are other pressures, including from the pro-abortion lobby. Fifty pro-abortion groups are pressuring the House and Senate to reject the Senate Ben Nelson abortion language because it is too pro-life:
“On Tuesday, a coalition of more than 50 women’s rights groups wrote Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Obama to ask for major revisions to the Senate bill because the current restrictions impose “unacceptable obstacles for women who wish to purchase insurance that includes abortion coverage and for plans that wish to offer it.”
Members of the House need to take into account this dynamic when considering “promises” to fix the public funding of abortion in the House bill.
Meanwhile, back in the House, the one thing the House leadership has stood up for is extending the White House imposed deadline of March 18 for a floor vote on the Senate passed ObamaCare bill.
This act of pushing back the vote does two things: first, it ramps up pressure on her own House Members by letting them twist in the wind for weeks longer as protests start to spool up, and second, the House leaders are admitting they do not have the votes to pass the Senate bill. That is why they are willing (again) to let their own caucus be targets.
Regional U.S. House Whip Rep. Cleaver (D-MO) agrees the Speaker does not have the votes. He said the Dems do not have the votes to pass ObamaCare in the House, and that some counts put the yes votes at 201, well short of what is needed.
Besides the fact that Rep. Cleaver’s honesty about the current whip count, here is The Hill’s own whip count: the ranks of the Yes votes on ObamaCare in the House are shrinking, and the Undecideds are growing. And Jay Cost’s whip count, which is excellent, and largely agrees with Rep. Cleaver, the Hill’s count and the NRCC’s count, can be found here.
The Hill found the number of Dem House members who voted “yes” for ObamaCare in November has shrunk by 23. These 23 have moved into the undecided category.
The NRCC target list that Erickson linked to yesterday has 25 Dem members who voted Yes for ObamaCare in November, and who are now at undecided. The Hill is at 23, and the NRCC is at 25 Yes votes who have moved to undecided. It is safe to call it about two dozen Dems who have moved off Yes. (The Hiller post on RedState noted a Yes vote on ObamaCare who is staying at Yes.)
So, the Undecided list keep growing. And once the Democrats in the House figure out that Senator Byrd will vigorously enforce the Byrd rule on abortion, and that the Republicans are stone-cold-serious about upholding the Byrd precedent on legislating on abortion on any reconciliation bill — then the number of undecideds will really grow some more.
Other pressure is mounting too. As those who had been predicting certain passage of ObamaCare head for the tall grass, the business community has grown bolder. The U.S. Chamber is spending between $4 million and $10 million to run ads in the districts of the newly undecideds.
Notwithstanding the President’s recent public speeches and his travel-the-country campaign for his bill, it is obvious and has been for some time that the President’s ability to change the course of legislation by speechifying has wilted.
How did the Dems get to this point? It’s simple: they have not acted rationally.