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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Vote Number 218

At TNR today, Jonathan Chait examines the dynamics involving Democratic efforts to get 218 House votes for the Senate health plan (presumably in conjunction with Senate action to “fix” its bill along the lines set out in the “President’s Proposal”). In noting that a few “no” votes on the earlier House bill would have to flip to “yea,” he cites the honorable 1993 precedent of Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinksky, who supplied the 218th vote for the first Clinton budget bill knowing full well she was probably dooming her own re-election.
But there’s another dynamic in the saga of getting the final votes that was illustrated in 1993: because the budget passed by exactly one vote, Republicans were able to attack vulnerable Democrats all over the country for casting “the deciding vote” for the bill. The same could happen on health reform with Democrats running in hostile territory.
So word to Speaker Pelosi: go for 219!

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