51 votes exist in Senate — IF Nancy Pelosi passes the public option instead of killing it

Last night, on MSNBC's Ed Show, the PCCC and our partners at WhipCongress.com announced, “We can say with confidence that there would be at least 51 votes for the public option in the Senate if the House goes first” and then named names and revealed new information.

Ed Schultz called it “the best reporting I have seen anywhere on a head count of the public option.” (Ok, ok, he hasn't seen Chris's awesome reporting…) Here's the video: 

48 thoughts on “51 votes exist in Senate — IF Nancy Pelosi passes the public option instead of killing it”

  1. We all know that behind the scenes the real reason that the public option is being hindered is that the White House is preventing it. Why is not one calling  out the White House? Too many liberals act as if the White House is a bystander in what we are seeing. As long as that is the case, the present bill will move forward without the public option.

  2. I have trouble with this logic / whip count.

    Warner and Webb seem to have been remarkably silent on this issue for months.  I just have no reason to believe that what they said aeons ago (in political time) still holds without some kind of public statement from them.

    And while I can understand your logic about Byrd, he has never said that he considers reconciliation an appropriate venue specifically for the public option.  He seems like such a stickler for procedure that I could see him voting against Kennedy (as you put it) if he believes that the PO’s place is not properly in a reconciliation bill.

  3. You have shown that ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’.

    Now it’s Pelosi’s move.  She has been pretty vocal on this, even at the summit, IIRC.

  4. Adam, I agree with you that there are probably 51 votes in the Senate for the public option. I’m pretty sure the problem is the House though. I know the House passed a public option, but that was with the Stupak language.  In getting rid of the Stupak language and not introducing a public option into the reconcilliation fix Pelosi/Obama, etc., are making the calculation that they need to make up the loss of the Stupak bloc by gaining other, pro-choice, or at least not rabidly pro-life Blue Dogs.  This I think, is why they are dropping the public option, not because they don’t think they can get 51 votes in the Senate.

    I’m not saying I think that is the right calculation, or that its not worth whipping for the public option, I just think its important to figure out what the real bottle neck is.  

  5. IF Nancy Pelosi passes the public option instead of killing it

    The problem is not Nancy Pelosi.  She has worked her butt off to try and get a public option.  If you watch her statements again and again and again throughout the last year, she has been the most tireless supporter of all.

    It was her House that was able to shephard through a Public Option the first time, by the skin of its teeth.  Fact is though, the Senate refused to pass it, and it has never been clear that there were the votes for a PO without the Stupak language.

    My problem with your rhetoric is that you place the blame on Pelosi, who has done the hardest work and passed the best bills of all up to this point.

    I have a real problem with people dumping on her after all that work.  She knows how to count the votes, and if they were there, I have no doubt a Public Option would be too.

  6. But I’m afraid you’re chasing your tail.

    Democrats have no intention of passing a public option, and it’s clear from the trail of excuses all year that they’ve had no intention of doing so for quite some time.

    The public option has served its purpose:  to distract from the lack of single payer in the dialog and to be yanked away once it could be done without anyone having to take responsibility.

    The only thing left is blame avoidance.  

  7. Though I think that Warner and Webb would be there.  Getting it through the Senate with 50 votes is tough but not the biggest leap.

    Getting it through the House is where the problem is, and I don’t see how we get the votes for the PO there.  If everyone votes the same way they did in November (except Cao) the bill passes by 1 vote, 216-215.  But Stupak has vowed to vote against, Arcuri is now against, and many others are wavering.

    I don’t see how we get back to a majority in the House without bringing on board some of those conservadems who don’t like the PO.  If someone can show me how my math is wrong, I would be happy to reconsider.

  8. That’s why I said:

    “I’m not saying I think that is the right calculation, or that its not worth whipping for the public option, I just think its important to figure out what the real bottle neck is.”  

    Obama should get on that, no question. I’m just saying if Obama were to do the right thing and fight for the public option, he would put his efforts into the House, not the Senate.

    But I agree, I don’t see that happening.

  9. The problem is indeed the president, but it’s because he has no real preferences on much of anything.  He has his finger in the wind.  If it blows up a public option, he’ll sign it.  He mainly wants to sign something.

  10. Yeah, that will work. More likely it is that no one wants to talk about it because no believes this all matters other than riling up the base to support the Democrats.

  11. of the US should be on it, then why are progressives avoiding it? At the end of the day, fear seems to be driving this.

  12. The threats of being called a heretic or worse await anyone daring to publicly oppose him.  Remember what happened to John Conyers and Howard Dean.  There is a price to be paid for standing up to his failures.  Even on this board we see the unreasoned attacks on anyone willing to defy the Obamafellationists.

  13. Most liberals have given up and said, “oh frak it, he’s the best we can do.”   I think that’s the new standard for liberal principles.

  14. The PO was lost 10 or 12 months ago, for exactly the reasons you point out.  The question is, do we give up and go with what we got while singing kumbaya, or do we put this in the back of our minds and remember it when it counts.  The battle for a Public Option is over.  The war for good leadership isn’t.

    There are plenty of culprits, but we know where the buck stops.

  15. But to do so, I suppose would mean admitting that the chance of including these policies like the PO when the president does not want it is slim to none. I don’t see how progressives can win by ignoring the factual nature of the battle they face. If the president is something they are fighting against regarding policy, how then will they pass anything by ignoring that issue?

  16. thinks they are going to accomplish a policy goal by a) ignoring that the president is against the policy goal they seek and b) thinking they are going to pressure people in party to go against the president (when progressives are not willing to even do that). I think the policy debate is over so long as progressives are unwilling to speak truth to power (as the cliche goes). that truth here is that president doesn’t want this, and the power here is that if you are going to pressure someone at this late to get it in0 it would be him since he’s pulling the strings behind the scene.

  17. Funny how if you agree, it is education, analysis or discussion, but if you disagree it is lecture.  Just human nature to see it that way, I guess.

  18. That would be another first.  The only one I can think of was JFK.  Somehow, I don’t think that’s what Obama had in mind.  

    I don’t think you can change this guy’s mind.  He’s very determined and confident.  I suspect the only way to change the outcomes is to wait patiently for 2012 and weigh the options.

  19. My view is that after health care passes one way or the other, then I will focus on my own endeavors outside of politics. I may or may not visit sites like this as much. I have a lot of business to take care that is just starting to take off so I am less likely to have time for the hit and run comments sections where I say what I am hearing outside of the DC bubble.  

  20. My view is that after health care passes one way or the other, then I will focus on my own endeavors outside of politics. I may or may not visit sites like this as much. I have a lot of business to take care that is just starting to take off so I am less likely to have time for the hit and run comments sections where I say what I am hearing outside of the DC bubble.  

  21. I’ve always said the Public Option is nothing but something nice to add.  

    When the coming Climate Change legislation you’ll find me far less interested in what you call compromise.  The reason is the reality is different.  For climate change we already have a Supreme Court ruling that requires the EPA to regulate carbon.  That makes the current status quo much better than what we have in health care.  I’m currently against all climate change legislation I’ve seen because it drops the EPA requirement.

  22. He has many issues, but “finger to the wind” is not one of them.  The Public Option, for example, is much more popular than the high-end insurance tax, for example.

  23. Not finger to the wind of the American public. The lesson of HCR is that we no longer live in a democracy where progressive, centrists, moderates, the press or  conservatives in DC give a shit about the public. They don’t even pretend to care anymore. They just ignore the public, and pretend like whatever they are saying and doing is related to public opinion. This is why we saw the many hours of Twilight Zone coverage that claimed the public was uncertain about the public option despite poll after poll after poll saying they heavily supported it.  They did so even while claiming it the public option was a far left rather than a moderate idea. The subtext of the whole drama was not only do we not care, but we are going to pretend you didn’t say you liked the public option.

  24. and hence, not an important thing.  as I keep saying, must be nice to have an extra 10% of one’s income to donate to the cause of ensuring that the private health insurance agency becomes a permanent institution

  25. It means his basic attack as someone who would compromise on anything is incorrect.  That certainly is not a “non-response”, it responds to the very point of the post.

    I simply think those who believe the PO is the endall-beall don’t understand this legislation or have a radically different opinion than I do on how good it is.

    But it also is due to the fact that nobody has been fighting for a real public option for a long time.  The “level playing field” option wasn’t expected by anyone to do much.  I actually found myself in agreement with the Single Payer folks on this point.  The two strongest arguements for it, in my opinion, were:

    1) Moral: we wouldn’t be required to give money to the evil bastards, and

    2) Long term: it was a platform that could be expanded upon in the future.

    #1 is a very good arguement, but not the most important one.  Long term, everything else is more important as a platform to build upon.  Recently, all the talk of Medicare Buy-in for all almost makes me think the “level playing field” PO might actually be detrimental in the long term, as some might think it is just as good, when it is not.

    The advantages of adding the shitty version of the PO are much worse than adding the Robust version.  Even you must agree to that.  That changes the risk calculation quite a lot.

  26. Nothing here according to you on the Public option is better than some form of PUblic option. But a health care bill that is something here is better than nothing although you have already established you don’t care to achieve something as better than nothing on the PO.

    That’s essentially what you just wrote.  Let me know when you have thought this through beyond where you are at. It is as per most people on the subject confused. You are not even arguing from a “how do I negotiate a better deal” front. So Ic an’t even give you that much in terms of reasoning.  

  27. How are you gonna build on a platform of giving insurance companies a captive market and essentially placing them in charge?  What’s next, giving them total control over the country?  Replacing Congress with AHIP?

    Without a PO (any PO, be it Level Playing Field or Medicare buy-in), any “building on” seems doomed to be skewed in the pro-corporate direction.

  28. If the PO is really the dealbreaker for these Blue Dogs, the lack of a PO in the current bills should mean that we already have those votes in the bag.  But we don’t; therefore we can deduce that the PO isn’t the issue.

    I don’t know what the issues are – if someone can figure out what exactly are the Blue Dogs’ problems, that would be helpful.

  29. Yes, I agree he’s a detriment to the cause of the public option and his ass should be primaried in 2012.  But how does that help us pass a PO now?  Especially if it seems like most of the Democratic base is still eagerly lapping up the encrusted fecal residue around his anus?

  30. If the PO is really the dealbreaker for these Blue Dogs, the lack of a PO in the current bills should mean that we already have those votes in the bag.  But we don’t; therefore we can deduce that the PO isn’t the issue.

    Public option can be an issue without being the only issue.  Those Blue Dogs would vote against single payer too, but that doesn’t mean that just because the bill isn’t single payer that their votes are in the bag.  They could have any number of grievances.

    Blue Dogs aren’t going to be inclined to vote for the bill because they are fearful that voting for this issue will cost them votes among their conservative constituencies.  Do you think including the public option will make them less nervous?

    Maybe it ought to, but the Blue Dogs aren’t necessarily logical in their thinking.

    My point is, Public Option can be a dealbreaker, but that doesn’t mean that whipping those votes all of a sudden becomes easy.

  31. Someone, like Speaker Pelosi or Majority Leader Hoyer, needs to slap them upside the head (figuratively… though I wouldn’t mind literally too) and point them to the poll numbers showing the PO polling popularly everywhere, red and blue areas alike.

    Moreover, if the PO really isn’t the only grievance, then that indicates that we should at least have a vote on it, regardless of whether or not it’ll pass.  If it’s just one of many grievances then it can’t be considered a “poison pill” anymore.

  32. point them to the poll numbers showing the PO polling popularly everywhere, red and blue areas alike.

    I would be really surprised if leadership, or progressive caucus members had not tried this tactic.  For some reason they don’t believe those numbers.  Yes, changing their mind would be best, but that hasn’t worked for the past year, why would it work now?

    If it’s just one of many grievances then it can’t be considered a “poison pill” anymore.

    Think about it this way.  You seem to be on the fence about this Health Care Bill.  Imagine that you are a Congressperson, and you are undecided about the bill, but you are persuadable, weighing the options.  Then, suppose an amendment were to pass, stripping out all of the subsidies in the bill.  You would then (I would guess) be entirely against supporting the bill.

    My point is that people can have a variety of grievances, and be in this persuadable category, but one change (like adding a public option) could on its own take them out of that persuadable category and incline them to oppose the bill.

  33. You have a point.  That’s why I say, have a vote then.  If there are people who are really concerned about the public option, they’ll kill it, then they can go on to vote for the PO-less bill.

    Personally, I think it’s worthwhile because we can get in a clear vote who is for and against the PO.  I also think that out of the non-Stupakers who voted No last November, there are a few gettable votes even with a PO, because I happen to think (with no real evidence) that some of those No votes were “catch and release”.

  34. I happen to think (with no real evidence) that some of those No votes were “catch and release”.

    I have friends on one Rep’s staff, and that was absolutely true with them.  I never got the sense there were all that many of these.

    If anyone knows, it’s Pelosi, and she doesn’t seem to think they can get there.

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