SOUTHERN BLOC(K): Dixie Dems and the health reform vote
NOTE: See the bottom of this post for latest updates.
With only 24 hours to go before the big health reform vote, the White House and Dem leaders say they're within striking distance of the magic 216 needed to pass it in the House vote on Sunday.
Making Obama's job a lot harder is the stubborn opposition -- or vacillation -- of Southern Democrats. So far, 13 of the 26 Democrats who are expected to vote against the bill tomorrow hail from Southern states.
And while wavering Dems from other parts of the country have been slowing coming into the "yes" column, key Southern representatives have refused to budge, either solidifying their "nay" stance or refusing to commit.
Here's the latest news on where 20 key members of the Southern delegation stand (bold = most recent updates; "voted" = vote on last year's House health bill):
|Representative||Voted||The Latest||The Buzz|
|Barrow, J (GA)||No||No (AJC, 3/19)||Progs ask: In a Dem-leaning district, why?|
|Berry, M (AR)||Yes||Undecided (NYT, 3/20)||Hinges on abortion compromise; retirement makes vote easier|
|Boucher, R (VA)||No||Undecided (T-N, 3/20)||Medicare reimbursement is the sticking point|
|Bright, B (AL)||No||No (MA, 3/20)||"We cannot afford the massive cost"|
|Boyd, A (FL)||No||Yes (WaPo, 3/19)||"This is good policy"|
|Chandler, B (KY)||No||No (LCJ, 3/20)||Won last election by +30 points|
|Childers, T (MS)||No||No (MCL, 3/20)||"Deeply concerned" about cost; abortion|
|Cuellar, H (TX)||Yes||Yes (WaPo , 3/20)||Released Sat statement saying "yes"|
|Davis, A (AL)||No||No (MA, 3/20)||Eyes on guv race; Black Caucus angry|
|Davis, L (TN)||No||No (Twitter, 3/21)||Various sources saying he's a no|
|Edwards, C (TX)||No||No (DMN, 3/18)||Worried about his "political future"|
|Kissell, L (NC)||No||No (WRAL, 3/20)||Netroots favorite now not so popular|
|Kosmas, S (FL)||No||Yes (WaPo, 3/19)||One of 2 big Fla pickups for White House|
|Marshall, J (GA)||No||No (AJC, 3/19)||Always a long shot|
|Mollohan, A (WV)||Yes||Undecided (NYT, 3/19)||Dems hopeful|
|Nye, G (VA)||No||No (Hill, 3/21)||One of 2 big Saturday defections|
|Ortiz, S (TX)||Yes||Likely Yes (TM, 3/19)||Not official, but Dems counting on a yes|
|Perriello, T (VA)||Yes||Yes (WaPo, 3/19)||Another big Friday pick-up|
|Rahall, N (WV)||Yes||Undecided (CG, 3/19)||Abortion making him a tough get|
|Tanner, J (TN)||No||No (Twitter, 3/21)||Various sources saying he's a no|
For more news, check out The New York Times, The Huffington Post or Firedoglake for the latest whip counts.
UPDATES 3/20: The Hill says it's down to 20 key House votes as of 2:25 pm 3/20. They include: Berry (AR), Boucher (VA), Rahall (WV),
* 4pm -- Cuellar is now a "yes.
* Glenn Nye is now a "no."
* 1:25pm -- Pelosi says, and everyone agrees, that Dems have the 216 votes. But none of the undecideds -- including the key Southern question marks above -- have officially announced. So who's it going to be? My bets are on Berry, Boucher and Mollohan. We'll see about Davis, Rahall and Tanner.
* 1:50pm -- Tanner and L. Davis now in "no" column -- this makes the abortion/Stupak crew essential, which would influence Mollohan and Rahall.
* 2:09pm -- NYT still not saying L. Davis of Tenn. a "no," but we hear he is -- that means only 4 Southern Dem votes still in play: Berry (AR), Boucher (VA), Mollohan and Rahall (WV). Stupak/abortion deal key to Berry and Mollohan for sure, probably Rahall. What's the word on Boucher?
Chris Kromm is executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies and publisher of the Institute's online magazine, Facing South.