How Many Blue Dogs Will Support House Health Care Reform Legislation?

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July 29, 2009 1:23 p.m.

Four out of seven Energy and Commerce Blue Dogs have signed on to a compromise on health care reform legislation. But can we use that split as a stand in for the broader Blue Dog caucus? Not necessarily.

“The 52-member Blue Dog Coalition has not taken a group position on the draft health care legislation that is working through the committee process,” said Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Administration. “Today’s announcement signifies that the committee process is moving forward. The committee will work its will, but the broader coalition has not ratified any agreements related to the draft legislation.”

“If you poll the Blue Dog coalition individually and separately, you’ll find that not everybody is on the same page and there is no position collectively,” said Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) one of the three Energy and Commerce Blue Dogs who still opposes the bill.

To provide a bit more data still, only one of the five Blue Dogs on the Education and Labor, and Ways and Means Commmittees–Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA)–voted for the legislation.

But that was before this compromise was brokered, and even then, other Blue Dogs had articulated support for health care reform. At the same time, last week, House progressives told Democratic leaders they could not countenance any further weakening of the public option–and today the House’s public option was somewhat weakened.

Which is all to say that barring the defection of a number of House progressives, Henry Waxman bought himself and his allies in leadership some breathing room today.

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