According to the Washington Post, the House is expected to vote on the Democrats’ health care takeover bill at around 10:00 tonight, eastern time. The Post says that both parties are keeping their vote counts close to the vest, but an hour or so ago Republican Whip Eric Cantor tweeted that 34 Democrats have said they will vote against the bill. The count is up from 31 not long ago.
Assuming that is right, the Democrats would have 224 votes; 218 are needed for passage. I’ve always assumed that Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer wouldn’t hold a vote unless they knew they had at least 218, but the Post seems to think the outcome is still in doubt.
UPDATE: As we expected, Pelosicare passed the House 220-215. We’ll never know how many votes the Democrats could have had; no doubt they released some representatives from swing districts to vote against the bill to preserve their viability in 2010. The Stupak Amendment barring expenditure of funds on abortions passed 240-194. The AP makes this observation:
In the run-up to a final vote, conservatives from the two political parties joined forces to impose tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies to be sold to many individuals and small groups. They prevailed on a roll call of 240-194.
Ironically, that only solidified support for the legislation, clearing the way for conservative Democrats to vote for it.
This is presumably a charade. The real action was always going to be in the Senate, and we don’t know yet what, exactly–if anything–the Senate will pass. Assuming something passes the Senate, a conference committee will reconcile the two bills and, if the Democrats get their way, they will slip abortion funding back into the final product. Democrats in the House will then be able to vote for it and still tell their constituents that they voted against federal abortion funding via the Stupak Amendment.