Updated Mar. 10: Meet the 18 House Dems whose votes matter most on health care 

NOTE: A more recent count is here.

When health care reform passed the House in November, the vote was 220-215. Since that time, three Democrats who voted “yes” are no longer in the House (two resigned, one died). Also, the sole Republican voting “yes” has announced he will vote “no” when the Senate bill is brought to the House. One Democrat who voted "no" -- Rep. Eric Massa, N.Y. -- has also resigned.

Moreover, as many as a dozen Democrats who voted “yes” on the House version say they will vote “no” on the Senate version because it lacks language to prevent taxpayer subsidies for abortion coverage. Included in this group are Reps. Bart Stupak (Mich.), Jim Oberstar (Minn.), Marion Berry (Ark.) Joe Donnelly (Ind.), and Dan Lipinksi (Ill.).

UPDATE 2: Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., who voted for the House bill in November, said last month that he would vote "no" on the Senate bill, although his spokeswoman says that he has since walked back his opposition. UPDATE 3: Rep. Mike Arcuri, D-N.Y., who previously voted "yes," suddenly looks like a "no" vote.

The bottom line is that Democrats probably have only about 205 votes to pass health care reform. With four empty House seats, they will need 216 to guarantee passage.

Democratic leaders will be working furiously to twist the arms of the 39 Democrats (38 are still Democrats) who voted “no” last time. Their names are listed below, and the ones who might still flip are listed in red.

Note, however, that whip counts like this one are often unreliable. In 2003, as Republicans scrambled for the final votes for Medicare Part D, I interviewed one conservative Congressman who was adamantly opposed to the bill. He laid out his case against it spectacularly. Hours later, he voted "yes" under heavy pressure from the Bush administration.

Here are the 18 Democrats who, after voting "no" on health care reform in November, are now most likely to flip and vote "yes" this time around:

John Adler, N.J.On Fox News Sunday, he didn't quite rule out voting "yes": “If the House and the Senate can’t work out cost containment, I don’t see how I support a bill that doesn’t help our business community and create more jobs, he said.” (Fox News Sunday, Mar. 7, 2010)

Jason Altmire, Pa. Altmire equivocated this weekend on Fox News Sunday, saying he has an "open mind" about it. “I have to make a decision between passing this bill...or doing nothing.  And I'm weighing the balance between the two.” 

Brian Baird, Wash.Although he said he planned to vote no, the retiring congressman hedged a bit on CNN's State of the Union Mar. 7. “The problem is, if I think we could come up with a better solution, OK, than just to say health care reform goes down and therefore nothing ever happens, that would be a tragedy. And so that's the choice. I don't think this bill is what I would like to see us do if I could -- if I ran the universe, as it were, but I don't get to do that. So the status quo is unsustainable.”

John Barrow, Ga.He always has close races in his Savannah-area district, which was made significantly more Republican through mid-decade redistricting. A "yes" vote might end his career. He has not indicated how he will vote, nor has he responded to inquiries from The Examiner.

John Boccieri, OhioA Mar. 4 statement from his office says he is “encouraged” that President Obama’s plan “contains important provisions to reduce fraud, waste and abuse and reduce the deficit.” The Daily Caller lists him among the "undecided."

Rick Boucher, Va. He is considered by the AP one of those most likely to flip. But Boucher has resisted his party's leadership in the past -- for example, when he voted against McCain-Feingold. This year, he faces the fight of his career against the state House Majority Leader. His office has not responded to inquiries by The Examiner.
Ben Chandler, Ky. Chandler, already under fire for his support of cap-and-trade legislation last year, has given no public indication so far on his health care vote. His spokeswoman has not yet responded to inquiries by The Examiner.

Lincoln Davis, Tenn.His office tells The Examiner that he remains undecided.

Bart Gordon, Tenn. He is retiring, and considered by the Associated Press to be among those most likely to flip. In light of his recent comments, this seems quite likely. "He is not going to be making a final decision until he sees the final language," he told The Examiner.

Tim Holden, Pa. The Allentown Morning Call reported last week that Holden, a pro-life Democrat, is not saying how he will vote, and he has not responded to inquiries by The Examiner.

Suzanne Kosmas, Fla. Her district was drawn for a Republican, but she defeated former Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla. by exploiting his relationship with now-imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Her office has not responded to The Examiner's inquiries, but some consider her a prime candidate to flip and vote "yes."

Betsy Markey, Colo. Her re-election chances in her Republican district could be slim in a bad year for Democrats, but she isn't ruling out a "yes" vote. Her office has not responded to The Examiner's inquiries.

Jim Matheson, UtahJust as he began to contemplate his vote, President Obama appointed his brother Scott to a federal judgeship. Good timing. Matheson told The Deseret News that he is undecided. "He has not announced how he will vote," his office told The Examiner.

Scott Murphy, N.Y. The victor in a 2009 special election, Murphy is a fan of a single-payer health care system. His office did not reply to The Examiner's inquiries.

Glenn Nye, Va. Nye, who defeated former Rep. Thelma Drake, R-Va., is among those considered most likely to switch and vote "yes," but his office did not respond to The Examiner's inquiries.

Ike Skelton, Mo.Skelton, an old House bull with a pro-life voting record, could nonetheless be appealed to on party loyalty grounds, or even the loss of his chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee. His office did not respond to The Examiner's inquiries.

John Tanner, Tenn.Tanner is retiring. His staff recently released a statement that leaves him open to switching: "Until we know what that bill will include, how will it be brought to the floor and what the Congressional Budget Office says regarding its cost, there is no way for [Congressman] Tanner to declare his support or opposition.” His office did not respond to The Examiner's inquiries.

Harry Teague, N.M.This freshman already polls behind his Republican challenger, who previously represented his district. He has given no clear indication as to how he will vote, and his office has not responded to inquiries by The Examiner.


Among those likely to vote "no" again:

Dan Boren, Okla. – Boren, who has a very conservative record, will vote no, his spokesman told The Daily Caller.

Allen Boyd, Fla. – His office did not immediately respond to The Examiner's inquiries.

Bobby Bright, Ala. – Bright, who narrowly won in a heavily Republican district in 2008, told The Daily Caller that he is voting "no."

Travis Childers, Miss. – His office did not immediately respond to The Examiner's inquiries. 

Artur Davis, Ala. – The Rev. Jesse Jackson (NOT to be confused with his son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill.) accused Davis, an African-American, of being a race-traitor for voting "no." But he is running for governor, and not only does he plan to vote "no" again, but he promised to leave the campaign trail if necessary and return to Washington to do so. (An earlier version of this post mis-attributed the derogatory quote to the younger Jackson -- I regret the error.)

Chet Edwards, Tex. – He told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he will vote "no."

Parker Griffith, Ala. –
After the November vote, he switched parties and became a Republican. Good luck changing his mind.

Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, S.D. – She told the Rapid City Journal she is a "no" vote.

Larry Kissell, N.C. – He told The Daily Caller that he is a "no" vote.

Frank Kratovil, Md. – A freshman in a tough rematch for re-election, Kratovil told the Annapolis Capital last week that he will vote "no," if the House is asked to pass the Senate version of the health care bill.

Dennis Kucinich, Ohio – Kucinich voted against the House bill because he wants a single-payer system or nothing. He is considered likely to vote against it again. Then again, he was also pro-life until the moment he decided to run for president.

Jim Marshall, Ga. – He told the Daily Caller that ObamaCare will bankrupt the country. He's a "no."

Eric Massa, N.Y. – Here's one Democrat who cannot be turned. He resigned from the House under a cloud of scandal, and over the weekend angrily accused Democratic leaders of railroading him because he voted “no” last time. He might have flipped if he'd stayed, but we'll never know. 

Mike McIntyre, N.C. – He participated in a December event in which members of Congress prayed for the failure of ObamaCare.

Mike McMahon, N.Y. – A Democrat representing Republican Staten Island, McMahon told the Staten Island Advance last week that he will vote "no."

Charles Melancon, La. – He is locked in an uphill battle to unseat Republican Sen. David Vitter that goes from hard to hopeless if he changes his vote to "yes."

Walt Minnick, Idaho – After the Associated Press published a report that he might change and vote "yes," he called AP to say he will not be voting for this bill.

Peterson, Minn. – Peterson told Minnesota Public Radio that he will vote no.

Mike Ross, Ark. -- Ross, who at first threatened to block the House bill in committee, relented, but he then voted against it under heavy pressure from constituents. He told The Daily Caller that he is a definite "no" vote. 

Heath Shuler, N.C. – He told a local newspaper he will vote against any attempt to pass health care using reconciliation.

Gene Taylor, Miss. – One of the most conservative Democrats in the House, Taylor is among those least likely to bend. Although not definitive, his recent statements about the bill in his district give a strong impression that he is a "no" vote, and his office tells The Examiner that this impression is correct. "He does not support the bill," his spokesman said.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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