New Health Care Whip Count: 192 Yes, 194 No

photo: Leo Reynolds via Flickr

Some changes from our last whip count Tuesday morning:

• I hadn’t noticed Health Shuler’s strong lean against reconciliation back in February. I’d like to see something updated, but he’s on the cusp of a no.

• Jim Marshall said Obama’s plan would bankrupt the country, so the former No vote looks like one again.

• Mike Arcuri said yet again today that he’d be a No this time around (he voted Yes last time). I’ve heard conflicting information here, but after a guy says no this many times, you start to believe him.

• Mike McMahon, from Staten Island, tells a local outlet that he’s a firm no vote.

• Ann Kirkpatrick’s not in the Stupak bloc, but her vote may be in play anyway (she voted Yes last time). Same with Dennis Cardoza.

• Having dealt with Steve Kagen in the past, I think there are as many outs in his statement as there were back in November. I’m not putting him in the count yet.

You add all this up and you get 192 Yes votes, 194 No votes, with the rest undecided. There has not been a lot of movement in the Yes direction, which is to be expected at this point, in the absence of a bill and of strong whipping from the leadership. 192 represents the baseline number of votes – which could go lower – and a target for the Democratic leadership. But I still find this exercise worthwhile for the same reasons as Steve Benen. The public simply has a right to know, even if these statements are dog whistles or negotiating ploys. Otherwise, constituents cannot react to what’s happening.

Also, I don’t just take public statements at face value, but try to get corroborating evidence, note public campaigns taken out for or against various lawmakers, and also where Obama’s barnstorming tour is headed – going to Northeast Ohio surely is a sign that Charlie Wilson’s vote is in play, for example. You can put all this together and come up with a reasonable snapshot of where the votes are, how many are needed, etc. Right now, it looks like Democrats would have to get every possible No-to-Yes flipper along with keeping every non-Stupak bloc wavering Yes vote in order to pass the bill without having to run the Stupak gauntlet. And that’s worthwhile information to know.

The full breakdown…

Definite YES:
192 Democrats.

Definite NO:
177 Republicans.

Definite NO:
17 Democrats.

16 Democrats who voted No in November:
Bobby Bright, Mike McIntyre, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Walt Minnick, Artur Davis, Chet Edwards, Frank Kratovil, Mike Ross, Dan Boren, Gene Taylor, Larry Kissell, Dennis Kucinich, Collin Peterson, Ike Skelton, Jim Marshall, Mike McMahon.

1 Democrat who voted Yes in November:
Mike Arcuri.

21 potential Democratic No-Yes flip votes

14 possible:
Jason Altmire, Bart Gordon, Glenn Nye, Brian Baird, John Tanner, Rick Boucher, Allen Boyd, John Boccieri, Suzanne Kosmas, Betsy Markey, John Adler, Scott Murphy, Lincoln Davis, Jim Matheson.

7 less possible:
Travis Childers, Harry Teague, Heath Shuler (severe lean no), John Barrow, Tim Holden, Charlie Melancon, Ben Chandler.

24 potential Yes-No flip votes:

11 Stupak bloc:
Bart Stupak, Jerry Costello, Charlie Wilson, Kathy Dahlkemper, Joe Donnelly, Joseph Cao (R), Steve Driehaus, Brad Ellsworth, Marion Berry, Marcy Kaptur, Dan Lipinski.

13 other wary Democrats:
Zack Space, Chris Carney, Mike Doyle, Paul Kanjorski, Ann Kirkpatrick, Alan Mollohan, Nick Rahall, Dan Maffei, Bill Owens, John Spratt, Dennis Cardoza, Dale Kildee, James Oberstar.