- Joined Dec 3, 2007
[h1]Democrats predict health bill will pass House[/h1]
WASHINGTON – A pair of House Democratic leaders predicted Sunday the final tally on President Barack Obama's historic health care billwill meet or exceed the 216 votes required for passage. But theyacknowledged having yet to nail down commitments from a handful ofmembers.
"There are still members looking at it and trying to make up their minds," House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer,D-Md., said on NBC's "Meet the Press" in the hours before the vote. Headded that the holdouts numbered in "the low single digits."
"We think there are going to be 216-plus votes when we call the roll," Hoyer said.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the party's deputy whip, also said the votes were not yet in hand, telling "Fox News Sunday" that Democrats were still short of "a hard 216."
Republicansattributed the caution to public controversy over the plan, whichplayed out in angry protests at the doorstep of the Capitol duringCongress' rare weekend session. At issue was Obama's signature domestic issueand the most significant legislative overhaul in decades: a rewrite ofthe nation's health care system to provide coverage to millions ofpeople.
One Democratic leader was even moreoptimistic, though no other party member was willing to declare victoryhours before the vote.
"We have the votes now — as we speak," Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson, D-Conn., said on ABC's "This Week."
Republicansremain resolutely opposed to the legislation and warned they will makeDemocrats pay dearly in the fall elections if the fiercely debatedmeasure becomes law.
"The American people don't want this to pass. The Republicans don't want this to pass. There will be no Republican votes for this bill," Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House's second-ranking Republican, told ABC.
WithObama's emotional appeal from Saturday ringing in their ears, HouseDemocratic leaders prepared for three showdown votes when they conveneat 1 p.m. EDT and begin voting an hour later: on a "rule" to establishdebate guidelines; on a package of changes to a Senate-passed bill,including deletion of special Medicaid benefits for Nebraska; and onthe Senate bill itself, the focus of intense national debate for months.
Democratsneed 216 votes to pass each one. With all 178 Republicans and at leasttwo dozen Democrats vowing to vote no, the legislation's fate lay inthe hands of the Democrats who remained uncommitted ahead of Sunday'svote.
Obama cast the decision in personal terms,telling House Democrats they have arrived at a moment when they canrealize their highest aspirations in public life.
"Thisis one of those times where you can honestly say to yourself, 'Doggoneit, this is exactly why I came here,'" he said. "'Because I believe sodeeply in this country and I believe so deeply in this democracy andI'm willing to stand up even when it's hard.'"
IfDemocratic leaders prevail on all three House votes, Obama could signthe Senate version of the bill into law. The bill of "fixes" would goto the Senate under fast-track debate rules, called reconciliation,that would enable Democrats to pass it without facing a Republicanfilibuster.
Democrats control 59 of the Senate's100 seats, one vote shy of the number needed to overcome bill-killingfilibusters from a united GOP.
HouseDemocrats have long insisted that senators agree to change the billthat the Senate passed on Christmas Eve. Since then, it became deeplyunpopular with many Americans, because of the special deal forNebraska, a new tax on generous employer-provided health plans andother aspects.
In a sign of increasingDemocratic confidence Saturday, House leaders dropped plans for acontroversial parliamentary tactic. They agreed to allow a simpleyes-or-no vote on the Senate bill. By planning to pass the package offixes on the same day, Democrats hope they can persuade constituentsthey did not support the Senate measure as a stand-alone bill.
Thelegislation, affecting virtually every American and more than a year inthe making, would extend coverage to an estimated 32 million uninsured,bar insurers from denying coverage on the basis of existing medicalconditions and cut federal deficits by an estimated $138 billion over adecade.
Congressional analysts estimate the cost of the two bills combined would be $940 billion over a decade.
House leaders continued to negotiate late Saturday with ahandful of anti-abortion Democrats who threatened to switch from "yes"to "no" on the legislation without greater assurances that no federalmoney under the new laws would be used for elective abortions.
It was unclear whether Obama would agree to issue an executiveorder along those lines. Long-standing federal policy bars U.S. aid forabortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life isin danger.
So umm...why are people against this Bill again--besides the banal retort, "it's going to take cost too much money/it's going to take money out of my pocket"?
I mean, this country has spent ***** on a fruitless campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan thus far, and this is what people have qualms with?
Putting all the BS politics aside, are people not aware of the overarching purpose of the bill when all is said and done? Isn't that what matters here--ensuring that the average American can receive some form of medical care if and when the need arises? Or is that too much selflessness to ask of the "diverse" constituents of this country?
My stance on issue--I'm sure you've inferred by now. What's yours?