Shrinking Margins: The Congressmen Who May Switch To No On Health Care

March 12, 2010 9:58 a.m.

As the House prepares to vote next week on the Senate health care bill, accompanied by a package of fixes to pass via reconciliation, several congressmen who voted for the House health care bill last fall are signaling that they may switch their votes to no on the Senate bill. Here they are, as compiled by TPMDC:

Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY) says he’ll vote no without “drastic changes” in the Senate bill. His concerns are the comprehensiveness of the bill; the use of reconciliation to make changes; and that it calls for taxing health benefits.

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) sent a letter to supporters yesterday detailing his problems with the Senate bill. One of his concerns is using the “complicated and dangerous process” of reconciliation to fix the bill. (Late update: Capuano sent an email to supporters today saying he wants to vote yes, but he still has “some questions about the Senate bill.”)Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said in a statement today that he plans to vote no “at this time.” He’s demanding changes to the bill’s immigration language, arguing that the current bill would bar some immigrants from buying private insurance with their own money.

Other congressmen have said they won’t vote for the Senate bill as is, including Reps. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL). Another, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) wrote a letter to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi detailing her concerns about the Senate bill, namely the expansion of Medicaid.

And then there’s Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and the 12 congressmen he claims will vote against health care if there’s no language explicitly prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion. Although it’s unclear exactly who those 12 are, and how committed they are to the threat, we have some idea on who might vote no.

Stupak, for one, said today he is a “definite no.”

Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), the only Republican to vote for the House bill the first time around, says he’ll vote against any bill without abortion language. Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) says the same, and Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) has a statement to the same effect on his web site.

But House leadership has signaled that they’re done negotiating on abortion language. The House will have to pass the Senate bill, with its less restrictive language. Abortion likely won’t be in a fix package either, because it doesn’t affect the deficit and therefore can’t be passed using the budget reconciliation process.

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