March 16th, 2010
08:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Health care foes have 200 no votes in House

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Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders are voicing optimism that the necessary 216 ‘yea’ votes needed for passage will be there.
Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders are voicing optimism that the necessary 216 ‘yea’ votes needed for passage will be there.

Washington (CNN) - Even as a top House Democrat expressed confidence in passing legislation to overhaul health care, a new CNN analysis shows that opposition in the House of Representatives to the Senate health care plan has reached 200 members.

That figure is 16 votes shy of the 216 needed to prevent President Obama from scoring a major victory on his top domestic priority.

Twenty-two House Democrats, including seven who supported the House plan in November, have indicated they would join a unified House Republican caucus in opposing the Senate plan, which that chamber passed in December with the minimum 60 votes.

See a list of House Democrats who oppose the Senate bill here.

Among the at least 22 Democrats who will vote against the bill is Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, who confirmed his opposition to the bill to CNN on Monday.

"Health care reform is needed, but the bill before us is too expensive, does not adequately address rising medical costs and skyrocketing insurance premiums, and tries to do too much too soon," McIntyre said in a written statement. "We simply cannot afford to create a new federal bureaucracy that costs nearly $1 trillion when our national debt is $12 trillion and there is no plan in place to address it. I will not vote for it."

Proponents of the health care plan need 216 votes to pass the Senate plan. No Republicans have indicated that they will vote for the bill, which means Democratic leaders must rely solely on votes from their own members. Democrats currently hold 253 House seats.

Of the 39 Democrats who voted against the House plan in November, 15 have indicated they will vote against the Senate plan as written, 12 remain uncommitted, and 10 did not return repeated calls from CNN. One member, Parker Griffith of Alabama, became a Republican in December. An additional member, Rep. Eric Massa of New York, resigned his seat last week.

Two top Republican vote-counters, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, released a memo last week, saying that a relatively small number of Democrats hold a tremendous amount of sway on the issue.

"We believe House passage of the Senate's health care bill will ultimately be decided by the 37 remaining House Democrats who voted NO to a government takeover last November, and the ... 21 House Democrats who originally voted YES, but may now be on the fence," they wrote.

CNN contacted a number of House Democrats who voted in favor of the November House bill and who also represent conservative or competitive districts. Of those, Reps. Michael Arcuri of New York, Marion Berry of Arkansas, Tim Bishop of New York, Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, and Bart Stupak of Michigan said they would vote against the Senate bill as written, but said they would consider supporting it with significant changes. A seventh member, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, said he would vote against the bill outright.

Stupak leads a coalition of conservative Democrats who may play a key role in the health care vote calculus. These lawmakers favor modifying the Senate health care bill to include an amendment written by Stupak that will further restrict ways abortions can be funded. During the House health care overhaul debate, 64 Democrats voted in favor of the Stupak amendment.

The Michigan congressman had been negotiating with House Democratic leaders to address the abortion issue, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN last week that those negotiations had ended.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman, who recently discussed his concerns over the abortion issue with Stupak, told reporters Monday night: "If they brought the bill down, they're not stopping any abortions. They are stopping millions of people from getting health insurance."

Waxman's committee was one of several to review the House plan last year.

Modifying the Senate bill would require use of a parliamentary procedure known as reconciliation, which allows a measure to pass the Senate with a simple majority vote of 51, rather than the 60 votes needed to block a filibuster. However, Senate rules allow the passing of a reconciliation bill only once the underlying bill has been signed into law.

Several House members who oppose the Senate bill as written are skeptical that the Senate will address their concerns in a reconciliation package once the measure already has been signed into law.

"From the beginning, Congressman Arcuri has been opposed to the Senate bill," a spokesman said in a statement. "If there are so-called guaranteed fixes from the Senate through the reconciliation process, Congressman Arcuri would carefully review these changes by the Senate and would need some way to ensure that their guarantees would absolutely be included in a final bill. As with any piece of legislation, he would review all proposed changes before casting his vote."

House Majority Whip James Clyburn and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have said in recent days that they will have enough votes when the measure comes to a vote. But Clyburn said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that they still lacked the votes to secure a victory.

"No, we don't have them as of this morning, but we've been working this thing all weekend," he said.

– CNN's Dana Bash, Lisa Desjardins, Evan Glass, Deirdre Walsh and Robert Yoon contributed to this report.

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Stallion

    Wrong plan at the Wrong time...........One way or the other the will of the majority will prevail.

    March 16, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. j

    Come on DEMOCRATS, get your act together and pass the Senate bill so you can make changes to it. DO IT NOW!

    March 16, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. Stop taking my taxes

    Thank God, might actually stop these communist. These dirtbag democants will pay come November, this is not the America that made us the Greatest nation in the history of the world. This is what destroys nations.

    March 16, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    so that means 232 YES votes....

    PASSED... MOVE ON

    March 16, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. Bobert

    What the heck CNN? Please stop being so bias. If you're going to post a list, post a full list of the House and where they're voting, not just the "democrats" who are voting no on the Senate version.

    March 16, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. pj

    Stand firm against this mess! Congressman Cao from New Orleans, we are watching you!

    March 16, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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