OK, let’s walk through this. Mind you, I’ve already declared this bill dead anyway.
- Back in November of 2009, the House of Representatives passed a health care rationing bill, 220-215. For the purposes of this discussion, we will note four Congressman ‘yea’ votes: Abercrombie of Hawaii; Cao (R) of Louisiana; Murtha of Pennsylvania; and Wexler of Florida.
- In December of 2009, the Senate passes their version of the bill. It lacks the ‘Stupak Amendment,’ which is the only reason why Cao voted for the House version.
- In January of 2010, Wexler’s retirement becomes official. The effective vote is now 219-215.
- Also in January of 2010, Cao declares that he will not vote for the Senate version of the bill.
- In February of 2010, Murtha dies suddenly. The effective vote is now 218-215.
With me so far? Well, here are the two problems that the Democrats are now facing:
- If the final version of the bill does not include the Stupak Amendment, Cao will not vote for it (and neither will Stupak), thus making the final vote 217-216 against and the bill not passing. If the final version of the bill does include the Stupak Amendment, then every Democratic Senator is going to inundated with screaming progressives. How could they resolve this? By junking the Stupak amendment and making a vulnerable Democrat flip-flop on his previous vote. In a year when it’s a bad idea to be a Democratic incumbent anyway.
- The other problem is Abercrombie. As Philip Klein and Ed Morrissey both noted, he’s supposed to be out the door at the end of the month in order to run for Governor of Hawaii. He had also promised to stick around to get health care rationing passed. The conditions of the special election to replace him – not to mention, the problems in delaying his formal gubernatorial run – are sufficiently complicated that breaking his word on the latter will probably cause him less problems in the long term. So, after February 28th, that puts the regular vote down to 217-215 for, and 217-215 against if Stupak is not passed. In that case, the Democrats need to flip two vulnerable Democrats (if the vote’s a tie, they lose).
Shorter Moe Lane: eight years of karma just caught up with the Democratic party, and it’s charging interest.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.