The chairman of the Democratic caucus in the House said Sunday his party has the 216 votes needed to pass President Barack Obama’s historic health care bill.
Other House Democrats were not as optimistic heading into a rare Sunday session to vote on one of the most significant legislative initiatives in decades: overhauling the nation’s health care system to provide coverage to millions of people.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Connecticut Rep. John Larson said, “We have the votes now – as we speak.” However, no one else in the Democratic House leadership was ready to declare victory.
With Obama’s emotional appeal from Saturday ringing in their ears, House Democratic leaders prepared for three showdown votes: on a “rule” to establish debate guidelines; on a package of changes to a Senate-passed bill, including deletion of special Medicaid benefits for Nebraska; and on the Senate bill itself, the focus of intense national debate for months.
Democrats need 216 votes to pass each one. With all 178 Republicans and at least two dozen Democrats vowing to vote no, the legislation’s fate lies in the hands of about 20 Democrats who remained uncommitted late Saturday.