Yesterday brought us dueling versions of vote-math for the heathcare bill in the House.
Here’s ABC News’ version of Nancy Pelosi‘s half-empty arithmetic:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has signaled to the White House that it’s unclear if there are enough votes in the House to pass the Senate bill.
The House version passed in November by a vote of 220-215, but since then three “yea” votes have vanished: Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Florida, retired; Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., passed away; and Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, R-Louisiana, has signaled he will not vote for the final bill.
That puts Pelosi in a starting-off point of 217 votes which is a majority of the current 433-member House of Representatives, but is also a tough starting line given the prevailing political winds and the lack of desire of many House Democrats to re-enter this discussion at a time when many Americans want the Capitol to focus on job creation.
But Majority Whip James Clyburn confidently declared that his adding machine produces a more-than-half-full answer:
The House will pass a new healthcare reform bill with a larger majority than it did on its first bill, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday.
Clyburn made his comments just after President Barack Obama unveiled his detailed health plan Monday morning. The move was intended to set the agenda for the bipartisan healthcare summit at the White House on Thursday.
“I do believe that if what I have seen and what I’ve been hearing is close to being accurate, I do believe that we can get there in the House,” he said on MSNBC. “We got there with some people holding out for some things that we have now gotten in the Senate plan and in the president’s proposal.
“I do believe there is more fertile soil today than when we first took this up.”
Pelosi’s comments are reported second-hand, without any ascription. Some unknown person or persons signaled to ABC News that Nancy Pelosi had signaled that to the White House. Clyburn’s comments come to us in the first person. And it’s true that he’s the official vote-counter, not Pelosi. But it’s not very clear where these Democrats with newly implanted political spines are springing from. Let’s hope it’s not the fertile soil of his imagination.