Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Daily Strike-3/20/10-Where We Stand

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Let's get you caught up on the latest development ahead of tomorrow's vote.

RULE: Democrats have decided to abandon the so-called "deem and pass" rule that would have deemed the Senate bill agreed to on passage of the sidecar reconciliation bill. Instead, Democrats have decided to hold two separate votes. The first will be on the reconciliation bill, the second on the Senate bill. Therefore, when members vote for the Senate bill, they will have already been on record supporting popular changes to it.

The first vote of the day is expected to occur around 2pm tomorrow, when the House will vote on the rule governing debate. The vote on the reconciliation bill should be held around 4:30 or 5, with a vote on the Senate bill soon afterward. Republicans will be able to force a vote on a motion to recommit, which I'm willing to be might have something to do with abortion. Democrats need to be reminded not to vote for any Republican poison pills. We should all know what their intention is: kill the bill!!

WHIP COUNT: There was mixed news on the whip count today. Last night, we heard news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was trying to cut a deal with Bart Stupak (D-MI) and his anti-choice holdouts. This made me worry that Pelosi did not have enough votes outside of the Stupak bloc. Today, however, talks broke down with Stupak today, and Pelosi said that they will not be granted a vote on any abortion-related provision. Stupak probably has a block of 6 members or so. Democrats will be able to proceed without them if they can convert a couple more former "no" votes.

One former member of the Stupak crowd was Rep. Chris Carney (PA), who announced today that he will be supporting the bill. This was a good sign that the Stupak group is starting to thaw. The bad news today was that Rep. Zack Space (OH), who voted yes in November, will be a no this time around. It looks like we've found another Democrat who needs to be primaried out of his seat!

With these developments, the path to 216 remains relatively clear. Democrats need to hold on to all of the remaining yes votes from November, which is likely, in my view. They also need to limit the Stupak bloc to 6 members, and then pick up yes votes from retiring Reps. Baird (WA) and Tanner (TN). I would still bet that they'll be able to do it. They BETTER be able to do it. Barack Obama has more than put himself on the line for this. He implored Democrats at a special meeting today to do the right thing.

PROTESTS: I should also mention today that a good number (but not a huge number) of tea party protesters descended on the Capital today to intimidate Democratic lawmakers into voting no. I don't think they have too much of an impact at this point. I did hear, however, that some of them shouted racial slurs at Civil Rights icon Rep. John Lewis, and an anti-gay slur at Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA). This should give Democrats a good idea of who these people really are. We have to beat them.

Alright, my friends. I'm off for now. We'll be back tomorrow to hopefully report on some good news.

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