Loretta Sanchez: Present but unaccounted for
By Ben Pershing
A small mystery surrounding the current whip count for the final health-care vote was solved in the last hour -- sort of.
After missing all of Saturday's roll calls, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif) showed up for the procedural votes that began Sunday's House session. So now party leaders -- and the media -- know where Sanchez is. But they still don't know how she'll vote tonight.
The mystery began on a dark and not-so-stormy Saturday night, when Roll Call posted a story noting that Sanchez had been AWOL for that day's votes, and reporting that party leaders "weren't assured" that the lawmaker would be back in Washington in time for Sunday's climax. The story added that the leadership considered Sanchez a "no" vote -- a key loss, given that she voted in favor of the House bill in November -- and cited two anonymous sources saying Sanchez was "in Florida on a fundraising jaunt."
Not so, Sanchez's chief of staff, Adrienne Elrod, told the Orange County Register Saturday. Elrod said Sanchez "was out of town on personal business, not a campaign fundraiser" and would be in the Capitol by crunch time. But Elrod would not say how Sanchez, a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs who has expressed concern about the bill's price tag, planned to vote.
Asked the same question by The Washington Post, Elrod said Sanchez "is in Washington and looks forward to casting her vote on this historic legislation."
Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon. At the very end of the House's first vote of the day, Sanchez strode out of an elevator just off the House chamber, an aide in tow, and sped onto the floor through a phalanx of reporters. Asked by one how she planned to vote Sunday, Sanchez simply glared and kept walking.
So the mystery continues.
March 21, 2010; 3:08 PM ET
Categories: Capitol Briefing , Health Care
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