TPM News

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), who voted for the House health care bill in November, will now vote against the Senate bill, Politico's Glenn Thrush reports.

Although Lynch is a strongly pro-life Democrat, it is interesting to note that the language on abortion does not appear to be his sticking point. Instead, he opposes any tax on cadillac health care plans, even under the delayed version in the new compromise, according to Thrush's report.

House Democrats need 216 votes in order to pass the bill, and don't appear to have much room for error.

Late Update: Lynch told TPMDC's Brian Beutler that he will be meeting with President Obama this afternoon.

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President Obama will not go on his already delayed trip to Indonesia, Australia and Guam this weekend, preferring to stay in Washington to see health care through, the White House said today.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that Obama will postpone the trip until June and that he phoned the leaders of those nations to express his regret but to say that the health care vote was too important to be out of town.

"The president is determined to see this battle through," Gibbs said during the first ever press briefing held in the White House Rose Garden.

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The new national survey from Public Policy Polling (D) finds President Obama in tight potential races against Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, and continuing to maintain a bigger advantage over Sarah Palin.

The numbers: Obama leads Huckabee by 46%-44%, leads Palin by 49%-41%, and is tied with Romney 44%-44%. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), was also tested, but as a national unknown he trails Obama by 45%-34%. The margin of error is ±2.6%.

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On a conference call with with Florida Republicans just now, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) promised that if the GOP gets control of the Congress this fall, repealing a Democratic health care reform bill will be the number one priority.

"Our goal if we take the majority is H.R. 1 and S. 1 are [bills] to repeal this law," he said on the call, which was hosted by Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R).

Rubio promised to be a supporter of Ryan's legislative agenda if he makes it to Washington next year. "If there's only one vote to repeal this bill in the Senate, it will be mine," he said. "But I'm hoping there will be a lot more."

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an interview this morning that union groups view the health care bill as "a good first step."

He did not directly address a question about reports of changes to the excise tax that unions were uncomfortable with early in the negotiations, but lauded the final product and said it can be improved upon.

He said the union talks with people writing the final bill have yielded positive changes, even if it's not everything they initially wanted. "I'm happy about what we've been able to do to change the funding," Trumka told TPMDC in a brief interview in the White House Rose Garden after President Obama signed the jobs bill.

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Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY), a swing-district Democrat who previously voted for the House health care bill, will now vote against the current bill, the Hotline reports.

Arcuri has previously indicated that he was leaning against the bill, saying two weeks ago about the Senate version: "There would have to be some dramatic changes in it for me to change my position."

House Democrats will need every vote they can, of course, in order to get to the 216 threshold. And Arcuri is now one name subtracted from their column.

What's the matter with Georgia? Two long-shot candidates in the state's governor's race were suspended as school-teachers after allegations of inappropriate conduct with female high-school students.

One of those, Republican Ray McBerry, leads a Georgia secessionist group and is hovering around 2 percent in GOP primary polls. McBerry already last weekend issued a hilarious pre-emptive denial of those charges -- as well as several others. The other, Democrat Carl Camon, is the mayor of Ray City, and polls around 2 percent in the Democratic primary.

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