Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Endgame Continues

This morning's New York Times has an update on the House Democratic leadership's efforts to whip up enough votes to pass the health care bill; a story on the votes that remain in play; and a feature on the debate between different groups within the Catholic church on whether the bill is sufficiently prolife. The Times also has a vote tracker which is periodically updated. As of Friday, the Times counts 203 members in favor, 204 opposed, and 24 undecided.

The biggest unresolved issue continues to be abortion. TalkingPointsMemo has a report on a tense meeting on the subject that was held Friday night in the Speaker's office. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), the leader of the hardline prolife Democrats, will be holding a press conference this morning.

The House Rules Committee will be meeting all day today to formulate the proposal that will be sent to the floor tomorrow. Interest is so great that the committee has opened up an overflow room for those who can't get seats in the committee room.

One of the best ways to follow today's developments is to visit the TalkingPointsMemo home page and its Countdown to Reform Wire.

And, for much needed comic relief, see this column by Gail Collins on the absurdity of the process as it reaches it's end:

As the House prepared for its big, historic, achingly close vote on Sunday, the joys of being undecided seemed so great that legislators kept jumping on the fence, just to feel the love. After all, Representative Dennis Kucinich got four meetings with the president and a trip on Air Force One. Dennis Kucinich!

A congressman from South Boston, who supported the bill but opposed including a public option last time around, announced that he was now voting against the bill because it lacks a public option. Others suddenly discovered that their states had unmet needs. President Obama made yet another postponement of his Asia trip and invited the entire House Democratic caucus to the White House Saturday, which qualifies as possibly the worst way to spend your weekend in the history of the world.

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