Whip Count (No. 12 in a Series) Rounding up the Committee Chairmen

By Matt Loffman

Mar 9, 2010 9:43am

From Sunlen Miller:

The Hill’s Bob Cusack and Jeffrey Young report that many House committee chairmen are undecided or against the health care bill, after a survey of more than 100 possible Democratic defectors. 

“Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) are firm ‘no’s on the bill, according to their offices,” The Hill’s Cusack and Young report. “Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.), Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) are undecided. Meanwhile, Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), who supports Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) anti-abortion rights language, is leaning yes, according to his spokesman.”

As we’ve previously covered, 220 members of Congress voted for the bill when Pelosi brought the House legislation to a vote.

Since then, four yes votes are no more: Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, R-La., has said he won’t vote for final passage, Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hi., retired to run for governor, Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., also retired, and Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., died.

That means to pass the Senate bill, Pelosi starts out with 216 members of Congress who votes yes last time. With the pending retirement of Rep. Eric Massa D-N.Y., there will soon be only 431 members of Congress total, meaning a majority will be 216 votes. Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., has postponed his own retirement and told GOP leaders he will likely stay through the health care vote.

-Sunlen Miller

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