The House in Play?

When Rep. John Murtha died yesterday, some people in the media (so you know what to expect) commented that this would not have any effect on the Democrats’ control of the House (and, specifically, the ability to pass ObamaCare) because of the “large majority” the Democrats have in the house – seeking to draw a distinction between the upcoming election for Murtha’s seat and Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts which removed the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority (which was originally gained by the theft of a seat by Al Franken). While that is partially true, a number of House Democrats voted against ObamaCare the first time around; it only passed by 220 to 215 votes. That means that all it would take for the reconciled ObamaCare to fail when it returns to the House is the loss of three votes to the opposition. Ignoring for the moment all of the Democrats who claimed that they’d vote against the final version if it contained provisions they didn’t like (government-funded abortion, obscene backroom deals hammered out by the Senate), because the Democrats quite simply can’t be relied on to keep their word or abide by the wishes of the electorate (or by the Constitution which they swore to uphold and defend) – just look at how every last Democrat in the Senate was willing to toss aside their scruples and their claims to be “moderate” over a big enough payoff – AllahPundit said last night that “Without Murtha, Dems now one vote short of passing ObamaCare in House.”

Back in November, the House passed its health care bill by a narrow 220 to 215 margin, with 39 Democrats voting against it. Since then, the one Republican who voted for it — Joseph Cao — has indicated that he would not support the bill a second time around given the weaker language on abortion in the Senate version. In addition, Florida Rep. Robert Wexler already retired prematurely. Factor in Murtha’s death today, and Pelosi is down to 217 votes — one short of passage.

AllahPundit has somehow failed to recall an additional lost vote, Democrat-turned-Republican Parker Griffith of Alabama.

To pass the bill at some point in the next few months, she’ll need to flip a Democrat who is already on record voting against the bill. … While there’s been talk that Pelosi had some votes in reserve the first time around…

It’s actually a common practice, when an unpopular bill has more than enough votes to pass, for some Congressmen who support the bill to vote against it, just to shore up their support and re-election prospects back home. Odds are that once Pelosi had enough committed votes to pass this abomination the first time through, that some of the so-called moderate Democrats in purple (or red) states voted against it; knowing that it would pass, but allowing them to posture against it. This is known as “having your pork and eating it too.” However, given the upswell of opposition to ObamaCare, and how much rage will be directed against any “turncoats” who change their votes in favor of ObamaCare now (look how Ben Nelson is faring), some of those “reserve votes” that Pelosi claimed to have may just evaporate.

Bizarrely, just three weeks after Scotty B shocked the world in Massachusetts, we’re now looking at a re-run of that race in PA-12. It’s a special election to fill out a nationally recognized legislator’s term, and the winner stands to cast the deciding vote on O-Care in his chamber. Expect the Republican nominee to run hard on that point, especially since his opponent is bound to run on the fact that, with the Dems in power, he can deliver more earmarks for Murtha’s district than a Republican could.

Will the Democrat attempting to replace Murtha run on Murtha’s ticket of “all you voters are racist”?


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