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The Democrats are looking like they're going to win this one clean. And when I say clean, I don't just mean they seem to have the votes. I mean they seem to have the votes without going the deem and pass route. They're going to take a straight vote on the nine pages of reconciliation amendments (which you can download here) and then on the Senate bill.

So what happened to shake the process loose? Earlier today, House majority leader Steny Hoyer said that Reid had shown them a letter signed by more than 50 Democrats senators supporting the reconciliation fixes, so that might have inspired enough confidence to drop the deem and pass strategy and just play this straight. Or maybe House Democrats just smartened up and realized that the Senate bill is a good bill, their fixes make it a better bill, and they should not only act proud, but be proud, of what they're trying to do tomorrow.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 20, 2010; 4:36 PM ET
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It's still unclear how many Stupak votes Pelosi can peel away. The note of triumphalism here is premature.

Posted by: scarlota | March 20, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Was the idea of "deem and pass" just a head fake to jump up the Republicans on an issue that was never real? It sure seems possible.

Posted by: golewso | March 20, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I disagree that this bill is either smart or good.

Posted by: milkchaser | March 20, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse


What's the schedule for tomorrow? Do u know what time the vote in the House will take place?

Posted by: zeppelin003 | March 20, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Ezra: Just got an email from Capuano's office. He's a "yes!"

I'm actually starting to believe this thing's going to get done...

Posted by: Jasper999 | March 20, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

This is incorrect. The first vote will be on the 153-page reconciliation bill issued earlier in the week, along with this 9-page manager's amendment with largely technical changes. The second vote is on the Senate bill.

Posted by: dday212 | March 20, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

With the caveat that I would rather they pass the bill than not pass it, all I can say is that WellPoint's stock and profits continue to soar and this bill does NOTHING for me until 2014 at the earliest.

I was an Obama supporter and contributor but now I'm mad as hell and not going to be getting any less mad for 5 years.

Posted by: akmakm | March 20, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse


I'm sure you are sure, but I have to ask it anyway (to reassure myself!) ...

... since they're voting on the reconciliation bill FIRST and then the actual bill, are you absolutely SURE that the R's cannot somehow attack the order in which these things will be voted on?

I can already hear the frenzied, loud claims of "foul", that "it's not constitutional or legal" to vote on a reconciliation bill before passing the underlying bill (even though we {Rs} have done it a million times)???

Thanks in advance for some reassurance.

Posted by: onewing1 | March 20, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The Post's nose count doesn't look at all encouraging. There seem to be enough liberals and Catholics to jointly defeat the bill. Could Pelosi simply be admitting defeat?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 20, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"so that might have inspired enough confidence to drop the deem and pass strategy and just play this straight."

so wait wasn't Ezra of last week trying to convince us all that "deem and pass" was not that big of a deal.

now they're doing it "straight"?


sorry but dems aren't that bright. You should know that by now if you've been following this at all.

and Ezra I've asked this question before and I guess even the thought of deem and pass put this into questionable territory but would the President sign the senate bill if for whatever reason reconcilation didn't pass?

I hope he would because as you say the Senate bill is a good bill.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 20, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Yes, they should be proud. I can't remember America doing anything this great in my lifetime.

Posted by: opinionpieces | March 20, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

i am so happy, i dont think i can sleep tonight!!!!!
G-dspeed to barack obama!
G-dspeed to nancy pelosi!
thank you to all of the people who worked and believed and supported this bill, to bring us to this place of hope!!!!!
what a happy night!

Posted by: jkaren | March 20, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

It also saves them from having to worry about Republicans challenging the constitutionality of the process through the courts.

Posted by: dbackes | March 20, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Zack Space, Lynch, Arcuri; you have got at least 3 Yes to No. Agreed there are 7 to 9 No to Yes. But math still does not work as long Stupak bloc (around 10) are not on the board.

If there is to be no deal with Stupak, two things need to happen:
- these Yes to No need to stop and those need to come back (Arcuri could be the first one since Union is putting strong protest there...)
- more of Stupak block is needed to be peeled off.

So Ezra is not right about the vote count. Pelosi does not have enough votes right now.

For the process part, I think the true credit goes to Pelosi. She pulled it off. It was really smart to keep taking the heat early on for this process so that Dem Reps realize that they have to 'play straight' since 'process politics' was getting too hot. She made them (both House & Senate) to realize that and at the last moment once everyone was on the board, she went for the clean process. That kind of took the 'air' out of GOP at the last minute too. Clever maneuver.

Another of the solid stroke was no side amendments. That was good too. So all in all Pelosi is in the 'zone'; hitting all the right buttons here.

We will see how it develops in next few hours. If they have to wait till tomorrow morning means it is probably over in wrong way. The whip needs to close tonight for tomorrow to succeed. The right thing to do is to avoid Stupak deal and keep peeling off folks. But the real traitors are 'Yes to No' gang, otherwise pieces are falling in place for Pelosi. Dems really need 'leverage' whatever is appropriate in 'whacking' these Yes to No 'b**ta*ds'. May be more pressure from Union / Activists (which generally does not work at such a late stage). May be shame in Media? President calling their bluff openly? Or wherever Governors are Dem, they coming in this shouting match? Dems need to explain to these Reps how wrong they are.

Posted by: umesh409 | March 20, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid umesh409 is correct. Ezra decided to take the day off and has been outclassed by Josh Marshall, Nate Silver and that guy at firedoglake. Pelosi still is short a few votes and must convert some Nos to Yeses. Very, very tough, but not impossible.

Posted by: scarlota | March 20, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Talking about blog coverage 'David Dayen' at Firedoglake has stolen the show. He has done dramatically effective and classic media job. Hats off to him.

Ezra excused himself long back from this whip account and that is right considering his expertise more in wonkery. We are fine, as long as he keeps commenting with his 'deep thoughts'!

Posted by: umesh409 | March 20, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it's great. I'm really glad I will have to buy first dollar coverage with no deductibles or copays because my less-expensive insurance with a deductible will be illegal. Maybe they can improve the plan by making us buy the optional warranty on every appliance purchase, too. It is hard to figure how further disconnecting health care users from the true costs will do anything to stop the cost spiral. It is nice to know that the source of all our troubles are profits and the free market. Maybe next we can just dismantle the whole "capitalism" thing, and "private property." Get ready for a 30% lower standard of living--because that's what they have in the People's States of Europe, which we are trying so hard to emulate. Heavy new taxes on investments will help get us there.

Posted by: mark31 | March 20, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

unmesh409: Couldn't agree more about David Dayen. A masterful performance. And Brian B. from TPM has done yeoman's work as well.

Posted by: scarlota | March 20, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Stupak bloc does not have 10 anymore. People like Ellsworth, Carney and Kaptur - bonafide Stupakers - have come on board. Stupak probably has no more than 3 or 4 with him. And with a promise of an executive order affirming Hyde Stupak himself is probably a yes now.

Posted by: ElrodinTennessee | March 20, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

You would think that our elected legislators would want any health care bill of this magnitude to be supported by a large majority of the Congress. Any bill that leaves out tort reform for malpractice suits, and doesn't even address ways to increase the EFFICIENCY of the health care system to save money, is far from being omnibus.

This health care bill is a new entitlement bill for the lower income..and paid for by taxing the people and companies who have worked hard to raise their profits and income. Classic Democratic tax and spend - with a healthy dose of socialism thrown in just to keep the left wing of the Democratic party happy.

Posted by: Jjjohnson2 | March 21, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

reconciliation amendments (which you can download here)...

Anybody download the amendments? Absolutely impossible to understand. Here's the title:

Not something that can be called, "of the people, by the people and for the people". More like gobbledygook for special interests.

Posted by: Jjjohnson2 | March 21, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Karl Rove on Meet the Press last week or the week before? Seems like nearly consecutive appearances is a little high for someone who doesn't realy have any official role in the government.

Posted by: phillycomment | March 21, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Oops! Actually, turd blossom was on this Week.

Posted by: phillycomment | March 21, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

If this health bill is as good for the people as Obama claims, then why will He and members of congress and the senate have their own seperate insurance plan ?.

Posted by: carlopini_2002 | March 21, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

When Guiterez from illinois was asked by Laura Ingram if he was a practicing Catholic, he answered "yes". She then said that the Catholic church did not support the health bill. This was in referance to his commitment to his faith, his reply was that he also pledged to up hold the constitution,,,,,, ???? where in the constitution is there a health care clause? or law to vote on health care ?

Posted by: carlopini_2002 | March 21, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

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