Problems, or P to the sixth power, is what Speaker Pelosi faces.
She tells her caucus on a conference call not to believe reports that she has decided that the House will OK all the major positions of the Senate (read: cave to the Senate) — but in order to defeat the Senate position, she needs to show the White House and the Senate leadership, she does not have the votes in the House.
And she has no Dem Member of Congress who has corralled the votes with which she can point to as being the one who has them, while she does not. The Progressives are suffering from the fact they will not threaten to kill the bill if they do not get what they want. They have no Stupak, no DeMint, no Coburn.
Right now, the progressives or liberals are rolling over on all these issues, not issuing we will vote no demands, on each of the following issues they say they really care about, as the Washington Post reports:
“Members also brought up the public option, abortion funding, immigration and employer mandates, as well as the antitrust exemption for health insurance companies.”
The tax on high value health plans — opposed by unions — also was a big issue on the call.
“On immigration, the Hispanic Caucus made it clear that they want the House language, which allows illegal immigrants to purchase insurance from the exchange, to be in the final product”
But really, who takes the Hispanic Caucus seriously? They know they are not going to get immigration reform any time soon and they are widely expected to cave to the Speaker on this issue.
With Representative Cantor’s recent memo determining that just on the issues of spending, abortion and Medicare Advantage, he believes there are 37 no votes — even accounting for Blue Dogs who may switch to yes, Speaker Pelosi has little maneuvering room in the House. A very slim margin of error. There only needs to be but a handful of Progressives who are serious about their principles.
This is how Politico reports Pelosi’s problems this morning:
“To win this skirmish – or any other – she needs to convince Obama her math is tougher than Harry Reid’s.
“In other words, that it’s harder to corral 218 “yes” votes in the House than it is for Reid to get 60. And the House does not like the Cadillac tax, which hits the Democrats’ labor allies hard, because many unions have bargained for the high-end insurance policies over the years.
“Pelosi wades into the fight with the overwhelming support of her caucus; 190 Democrats have signed a letter opposing the tax, and organized labor is making a fevered last-minute push to shield its members, including a meeting with Obama Monday.
“Two-hundred eighteen is a pretty big number to get to,” said Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), a lead critic of the so-called Cadillac tax who authored the letter. “I’m not claiming that the 190 people on my letter are monolithic in their opposition…but it doesn’t take much to go from 220 to 217.”
This future of the bill comes down to the following question: will the liberals roll over and play dead for Speaker Pelosi and abandon every one of their principles so she can cave to the Senate? (If you answer yes to this question, the bill passes, if you answer no, the bill does not. My answer is no.)
Labor is predicting this morning there will be a deal, and they will end up with some kind of tax. This tax will be increased over time, so labor can lose this fight slowly.
On the other hand, liberals are having to defend their vote in the Senate for the bill, as the Hill reports this morning:
”Most of the criticism of liberals has come from left-wing advocacy groups angry at the bill’s lack of a public option. Such a component was dropped from the measure earlier in December.
“To that end, Brown and Sanders, along with fellow liberals Al Franken of Minnesota and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, are on the receiving end of a three-pronged push by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC). The liberal group is airing ads on the Internet that target all four, plus robocalls aimed at Sanders and Feingold, as well as a TV ad in Wisconsin also aimed at Feingold.
“PCCC co-founder Adam Green says the so-called “We Need A Hero” campaign is not intended harshly but strategically focuses on the liberals because only one of them is needed before the final Senate vote.
“At this point, the only thing that will change the bill is if one bold senator drew a line in the sand and said they wouldn’t vote for it without a public option,” Green said. “This is the time for that to have an effect. So far, we’ve seen progressives draw a line in the sand and then walk away from it. So we’re not questioning their motives, but we’re pushing them.”
Ironically, for Speaker Pelosi to deliver, she needs a Stupak of the tax issue or a Stupak of the public option to force her to force the White House and the Senate to cave to her. But it appears she and the liberals and the progressives are being rolled on all fronts.
The liberal’s main problem is they do not have a Hero. They do not have a Member who will credibly stand up and yell STOP. They have no House or Senate member or collective of Members who will simply state if my or our demands are not met, we will vote no, and if that means the bill dies so be it — but you had better comply with my requests.
But I think some enterprising progressive member of the Democratic Caucus will seize the leadership mantle of the left and lead a revolt, but only once the outlines of the fix on caving to the Senate on points raised by Dems on their conference call are apparent.
It is up to the progressives to deliver. If the Progressive do not deliver enough No votes, they will not be taken seriously again — apply pressure and the Progressives cave.