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

Dems increase majority in House before crucial health care vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Sheena1a

    No Rules barred for Pelosi to do what she wants done, not what the people want done....

    November 5, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. justthinkinoutloud

    Ah yes, and the tea baggers in the main time are crowing about the two goverors they picked up, I'll see your two govenors and raise you five congressmen, all dems. The NY 23 race was the big upset, not since the civil war has a dem been elected from this district, now that is something to crow about.

    November 5, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. tom leister

    And all we heard about in the mainstream media yesterday was about the gains made by the GOP. Liberal media? Yeah, right.

    November 5, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    When voters find out the true cost of this health care entitlement (Not a Right!) and its purpose of eventual single payer universal health care, the two newest members of Congress will have short one year terms.

    November 5, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Allen

    That's good. The more the better. However, I'm not so much worried about healthcare reform bill passing in the House, but in the Senate. That is why I'm all for the Reconciliation procedure to pass the darn thing. The Right Wing Nujobs, Republicants, Conservatives, or whatever they call themselves used the Reconciliation procedure to pass George Bush's massive $1.3 trillion tax cut in 2002 and now they are crying that it will be a bad idea and tantamount for a declaration of civil war for the Democrats to use it. If that's the way they feel, I say, bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 5, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. Rob

    They had better pass it and put pressure on the Senate. With AARP on board, the Senate will have no choice but to pass something and get it done.

    The House plan is the right plan. The GOP plan is terrible. CBO says it will only extend coverage to 3 million more by 2019 compared to 36 million more under the Dem plan.

    November 5, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. sharon, newport news, virginia

    Thank you Sarah Palin!!! Your effort along with the other whack jobs like Armey added a Democrat to the House For the first time since the Civil War there is a Democrat representing NY23 Job well done!!!!

    November 5, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |

    How many blue dog and other moderate democrats did they lose with the results in NJ and VA? More than 2, I predict.

    November 5, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. Dumbasrocks in VA and NJ

    Yes rightwingers. WE 'real' Americans increased our majority in the House. You real Amerikans got sand pounded into your nether regions by your own lord and lady Limbaugh and Palin who once again stuck their perverted noses in where they didn't belong. Like in the 1990s you morons will be dragged kicking and screaming into progress and prosperity......just like the spoiled child who kicks and screams out of ignorance and mis-placed fear about going to the doctor for the benefit of his own health.

    November 5, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Suzan

    We will be watching this vote very carefully and everyone better show up and you Democrats better stand behind this President and vote for the Health Care Bill........if the Republicans want to boycott the vote and not show up, that's fine, they are boycotting the Climate Bill, they are the Party of NO, it is very evident that they do not want to work with this President and his admistration, so do it with out them.........who needs them anyway.......Watching and taking Names

    November 5, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    Ah, hmm, this is GREAT!!! While "PALIN and her MERRY MEN" are running around trying to capitalize on the wins in VA and NJ – the Democrats are SNEAKING in the BACK DOOR!! ROTFLMAO!!!

    You should also pay attention to the mayor races in NC – GAY mayor and the first Democrat and African American won in another county since Harvey Gantt… YES WE CAN!!!

    While the Party of NO is trying to establish a FAR-RIGHT Party to NOWHERE – the democrats will get the job done!!! LOL

    November 5, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Whew, what a relief, because you know a 256-177 majority would have been way too close! Yep, a real squeaker. So exactly how many Blue Dogs are there?

    November 5, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. unshrub

    Wait just one minute, I thought it was the republicans who won the day? How could this be? A democrat won the most conservative seat in the nation, but yet, the news said it was a republican day of winning.

    November 5, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    Who is the President negotiating with but other liberal democrats!

    November 5, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Yes, and the neo-cons were beating their chests because they won 2 governships.

    By the way, cons, the governors do not get to vote FOR health care reform the two seats the Dems won ran on voting for health care reform.

    Now, which of the two "winning" classes would you have preferred to be in, two governors or two voting House seats?

    The mantra that conservative Dems should be afraid and "the people have spoken for small government, blah, blah blah" is just that, hot air paid for by Dick Armey and his paid teabaggers and astroturfers.

    The proof is in which party picked up voting wins and which party picked up 2 symbolic wins.

    Dems afraid? Indeed.

    November 5, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. EL

    pass the bill already! lets have some compettion

    November 5, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
1 2