November 5th, 2009
09:58 AM ET
10 years ago

Dems increase majority in House before crucial health care vote

Two new Democrats are set to be sworn in to Congress in the coming days.

Two new Democrats are set to be sworn in to Congress in the coming days.

Washington (CNN) - House Democrats are adding two new members to their team Thursday and Friday, just hours before a crucial floor vote on health care reform.

Representative-elect John Garamendi will be sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday afternoon. Garamendi, California's lieutenant governor, won a special election Tuesday to fill his state's 10th congressional district seat, which was left open when fellow Democrat Ellen Tauscher resigned to become the State Department's Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. Garamendi easily defeated Republican candidate David Harmer in the heavily Democratic district northeast of San Francisco and Oakland.

Friday Represenative-elect Bill Owens is expected to be officially sworn in as a member of Congress. Owens won a close contest for New York's 23rd congressional district over Conservative Party candidate Dough Hoffman. The official Republican Party candidate, Dede Scozzafava, dropped out of the race Saturday after she plummeted in public opinion polls, as the right flooded Hoffman with campaign support and contributions. Owens became the first Democrat to win the district in over a century. The House seat in the district in northern New York State opened up after nine-term Republican Rep. John McHugh stepped down after being confirmed as Secretary of the Army.

After Owens in sworn on Friday, the House will be back at full strength, with 435 members. Thanks to their victories in Tuesday's special elections, the Democrats will increase their majority by one, and will hold a 258 to 177 advatange in the chamber.

Saturday's health care vote is expected to be close. If all House members are present, 218 votes will be needed to pass the bill.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Hoss Fly

    Now that the elections are over can Obama make a decision regarding our troop levels?

    Or are there more elections that need to occur before he can make an unpopular decision?

    Politics before America is Obama's battle cry!!!!!

    November 5, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. m jeff

    Healthcare reform is badly needed, anyone who disagrees work for the Insurance Industry.

    November 5, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Stacie

    Finally, the media has been talking about the two governor races won by Republicans, but the Democrats gained a seat in Congress, from a "conservative" area of the country. Apparently, the people aren't buying the lies about health care reform.

    November 5, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. J.P.

    Yes, please do pass the Harakiri, er uh, I mean "healthcare" bill.

    We're keeping score and we have long memories... a YES vote on the Federal Annexation of Healthcare buys a Congressman a one-way ticket to the unemployment line next November.

    Unfortunately for Barry, I think we've found something Democrats love more than healthcare "reform"... getting re-elected.

    November 5, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Gary

    First I would like to thank Sara Palin for Rep. Owens. I have a question?
    Who and what determines whether someone is a true Republican. Is it Steele, Palin, Limbaugh or who and what is on the test?
    Maybe we will see real health care reform.
    Thanks again Sara

    November 5, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. Puddin

    Let's "get 'er done."

    November 5, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Justin in WV

    I don't understand how anyone could be against free healthcare. Think about it, it's FREE. Man I am looking for anything that is free in this economy plus I don't particularly like to work. Keep giving me that check, get me my free healthcare and I vote (D) all the way!!!

    November 5, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    Wow! Just what America needs 2 more Left Wing Wacko Dummycrats. And Minor League ones too! Wake Up America as they did in New Jersey and Virginia!

    November 5, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. Olivia

    We need heathcare reform NOW...let's hope the Democrats pass it. Republicans are digging in their heels as we speak.

    November 5, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. Enough

    Blue Dogs or any one else that supports this lousy plan....You will be next to be voted out..............We don't want this crap you are trying to shove down our throats and our votes will reflect that. Get to work on creating real insurance reform and get out of the lawyers bed. We all want reform, not the crap you are trying to force feed us. You know it's a bad bill and so do we.

    November 5, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. Fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    They had all better be present on that day...to vote down this shameful illegal health care bill that further voids the systematic gutting of the US Constitution.

    November 5, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. Carnell From The Motor City!

    Lets Get Health Care Passed, Lets Stop With The Delay Tactics.

    November 5, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. demsrulz

    Public option now! Employee free choice act tomorrow... finally our country will have a backbone again... Life is good

    November 5, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  14. AXH

    NO, no and NO! The American people DO NOT want this BILL!!!
    Why don't these elected officials listen!

    November 5, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  15. buckwheat

    After next election Democrats will be extinct anyhow after this health care package hits home.Who is going to pay the bills ,ACCORN people? Are the 50 percent who have not had a job since 1960 going to go to work? I hardly think so.

    November 5, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. scott michigan

    Great! Time to get forceful and make CHANGE happen! If the right wants to sit on the sidelines and try and derail Everything Obama tries to do – we have to get tough. Make it happen!

    November 5, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. GI Joe

    Wait until next year. The Dems will have even more.

    This country is not ready for a ghost "facebook" radical leader dictating what we do and do not think, and the anger and hate and negativity stirred up constantly.

    The Palin/Bachman pair needs to run in 2012 if they think they want to dictate which church, which doctor, which insurance company we support, or which state to destroy next with oil wells.

    They both need exorcists – AGAIN !!

    November 5, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. Kevin in Ohio

    Just a warning to all those dems in red-districts that climbed on Obama's coattails in '08..... 2010 is less than a year away. And a vote for this travesty of a health care plan may be one of your last votes. We, the American people, are not that stupid, and we will not be fooled a second time.

    November 5, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  19. Al-NY,NY

    ...listening to all the carping from Republicans yesterday, you'd think they had a clean sweep. They won 2 governerships...Corzine was lucky to even be close and McConnell won with the non-help of minorities/Dems that were energized by the POTUS election. Fine. they won.... With a net gain of 1 in the House, it will further increase the Dems hold and will enable them to even more simply say "Go you know what yourself" (aka Dick Cheney) to the republicans who scream about policy matters and try to block anythng and everything Obama proposes

    November 5, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. Grundoon

    A those whack-job neo-cons think they won on Tuesday. They are completely dillusional and have divorced themselves from reality completely. So Virginia picked republicans – Not a surprise. The big deal was that a district held by a republican since the Civil Ward would rather go Democrat that put up with any more neo-con mess! That is the message the GOP needs to get!

    November 5, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Texan1

    If you want to know what government healthcare looks like, just look at the VA Hospitals. You think you may have a heart condition? Ok, we have you scheduled for a meeting with our Dr. in 7 months. See you then!

    November 5, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. Michael Shea

    We keep hearing about the Republican victories in new jersey and Virginia.

    Little has been said about the two Democratic winns for Congress.

    Their victory in CD-23 in New York is a major victory. No Democrat has won this seat since the Civil War. this is something for the Democrats to capitolize on.

    The Democrats should be pro-active supporting the split in the Republican party everywhere they can. It is time for the Democrats to play hardball and this is one way they can do it.

    November 5, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. Deb

    I just checked Wikepedia. Your comments regarding the first Democrat to win that seat in 150 years is flat wrong. CNN check your facts.

    November 5, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. brian

    I thought the Dems were big losers on Tuesday? Oh wait, governors don't have a vote in Congress.... Keep living the pipe dream Republicans.

    November 5, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Keep it up, american voters. You're going to get what you deserve. Unfortunately all of the smart people are going to have to suffer right along with all of the morons that have put these people in power.

    November 5, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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