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article imageU.S. Democrats make push for health care vote

By Michael Bearak     Mar 21, 2010 in Politics
Sunday looks to be the day that might be considered the day that will define U.S. President Obama's legacy. The United States' House of Representatives is preparing to vote on the Health Care Reform package Sunday, needing 216 votes.
Saturday saw a rare day of session for the U.S. House of Representatives as Democrats and Republicans try to shore up support for or against Sunday's vote on health care reform. Many have called this vote the one that will define the legacy of President Obama, but in the process what he wishes to lean against as his big promise to the American people might not be what his people want in the end either.
Republicans are claiming that the Democrats do not have the 216 needed votes to pass the legislation citing 20 Democrats who are as of Sunday morning were uncommitted, this according to Fox News.
Democrats have said they have the votes but have stopped short of assuring the people of a victory. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told NBC's Meet the Press, "We think there are going to be 216-plus votes when we call the roll."
Nevertheless Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the party's deputy whip told Fox News Sunday that her party was short of the hard-216 needed for the vote.
Republicans are confident that the Democrats don't have the votes and won't get the votes in time. They have also focused on polling that has shown that the American people are not in-favor of the legislation and thus have vowed that if the vote goes through that they will make the Democrats pay in the November elections.
A current "Real Clear Politics Poll" shows a decrease in the public's confidence with Washington. Congress has only a 19 percent approval rating, while 75.8 disapprove of them right now. That goes to show that it isn't just the Democrats who have fallen out of favor with the public, but also the Republicans as well.
President Obama has also fallen into negative favor as well, just barely, with 47.2 percent approving of the job he is doing to 47.8 disapproving of his performance.
On Saturday President Obama made an emotional appeal on the Hill to try and get the support he needs for health care reform. A victory in the House on Saturday with the passing of the bill would allow the president to sign the Senate's version of the bill. To get there though the House has to pass three separate legislations on Sunday. The first is one to establish the "rules" on debate for the bill. The second is on the package of changes to the bill, which would include killing the deal for the state of Nebraska and Ben Nelson. The third and final vote would be on the bill itself.
Saturday also saw demonstrations on the steps of Capital Hill as protesters to the bill voiced their frustrations.
In what also seems to be the 11th hour a number of governors are concerned that the demands of the bill will further strain their cash strapped states.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was quoted as saying, "You've heard of the bridge to nowhere. This is health care to nowhere."
That sentiment was supported by a number of other Governors including Rhode Islands' Donald Carcieri, "This is going to be a financial disaster for the states. Every state right now is battling Medicaid costs. After education aid, Medicaid is the next largest cost for every state."
Carcieri's point being that half of the 32 million who would supposedly get coverage under Obama's plan would be pushed into Medicare which is struggling right now with the people it currently serves.
Representative Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, told ABC, "The American people don't want this to pass. The Republicans don't want this to pass. There will be no Republican votes for this bill."
The last issue that has been rumored as one last stand for Republicans is that various State's Attorney Generals could file a legal challenge to the final bill and forcibly take it in-front of the conservative dominated Supreme Court. The same Supreme Court that in recent weeks has voice anger of their treatment by the president at this year's State of the Union address. It could be fast tracked just like hearings as a result of the 2001 Presidential Election were and go to the highest court directly.
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