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By Jay Cost

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Counting the Heads of House Democrats / Updated 3-14

I'm no longer updating this page, as I think it is redundant now that The Hill's whip count is in full swing. I'll still be posting new info on Twitter as I find it.

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Remember, check back in for updates as I find them. If you have news that I haven't covered, send it my way! Also, you can follow me on Twitter for updates.

Current Categories (As of 8:10 PM 3/14)
     Democrats Who Voted Nay in November
          Very Hard to Persuade: 27
          Hard to Persuade: 4
          Persuadable: 6
     Democrats Who Voted Yea in November
          Suggested Might Now Vote Nay (Including Confirmed Stupak Democrats): 21
          Other Possible Stupak Democrats: 6

I explain below why I'm not doing a yea-and-nay count, akin to what the Hill is currently compiling. Those original comments are buried under a week's worth of updates, so I'll repost here:

I'm compiling an alternative count that is based upon public statements and a few key factors, placing members into several categories - all of which allow for the possibility of a nay-to-yea flip. Even if a member comes out and says no, he/she might still change his/her mind. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky did exactly that in 1993 on the Clinton budget vote.

My categories are meant to be soft. The lines between them get pretty blurry at the margins. This is really more of a working list I'm compiling for myself, which I've decided to share because of all the spin and faulty information out there.

Believe me, I'd like to do a firmer count than the above categories. I just don't think one is possible, at least not from the vantage point of an outside observer relying on media reports.

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Update 8:10 PM 3/14 Earlier in the week, I noted that Steve Dreihaus (OH-1), long rumored to be one of Stupak's dozen, had an ambiguously-worded statement on his website indicating his opposition to abortion funding in the health care bill. An interview with Driehaus by the Cincinnati Inquirer is much less ambiguous:

Driehaus did vote in favor of the health care bill that cleared the House last year, saying he was proud to stand with his colleagues to support health care reform and calling the vote "historic."

But the bill that could come before the House for a vote this month is a different version. Some say the Senate-passed measure does not contain enough restrictions on using federal money for abortions.

For Driehaus, who is Catholic, that's a deal breaker.

"While I certainly support this initiative ... I will not bend on the principle of federal funding on abortion," Driehaus said in an interview with The Enquirer. "They are going to have to do it without me and without the other pro-life Democrats."

As always, there is wiggle room here - but this is a pretty tough statement. I'm going to add him to my list of Democrats who had supported the bill in November, but who have since suggested they might defect.

Update 7:05 PM 3/14 Jerry Costello (IL-12) has long been rumored to be a Stupak Democrat. Today, in an interview published by the Alton, IL Telegraph, he indicates he's opposed to the bill in its current form:

With the proposed health care reform up for a vote this week, U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Belleville) said he is unsure of what the outcome will be.

"As of today, it looks like the process that will be followed will be that the speaker intends to have us vote on the Senate-passed bill and then a separate bill with corrections to the Senate bill," he said. "I'm opposed to the Senate bill in its current form."

His concerns with voting for the Senate bill are that it would allow public funding for abortions, that the congressional budget office has yet to determine the cost of the bill, and that partially funding the bill by slowing the growth of Medicare by $500 billion would adversely affect senior citizens.

"I don't like the process at all - I think the White House and the leadership has bungled this from the start," he said. "It's so complicated that the American people are fearful of what's in the bill - this is a very complex issue that affects every man, woman and child, and it's so complex that it scares people."

While the vast majority of calls, e-mails and letters Costello has received are opposed to the bill, he said that not one person has said nothing needs to be done.

Instead, Costello believes legislation should be passed that addresses three or four key issues that would garner bipartisan support, such as allowing coverage for pre-existing conditions, revoking insurance companies' anti-trust exemption to allow greater competition in the industry to bring down rates, extending insurance coverage for dependents until age 26 and establishing community health care clinics for the uninsured to have access to preventive health care.

He doesn't shut the door all the way. He says, "I have stated that I will not vote for the Senate bill in its current form...If that changes between now and the time we vote on it, then I will have to reconsider, but in its current form I will vote against it." Still, his list of grievances go beyond the reports of the purported House-Senate compromise - including Medicare cuts, abortion, a lack of bipartisanship, and public disapproval. He leaves himself an out, but not much of one.

Accordingly, I've added him to my list of Democrats who voted yea in November, but who have now said something negative about the bill.

Update 10:15 PM 3/13 I'm adding Rick Boucher (VA-9) to my list of members who voted nay who are now "Very Hard to Persuade," based on this local news report:

U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., said Friday he could not support health care reform legislation that includes heavy cuts to Medicare, a position he has held since his first vote against the package and his party's move to push legislation through Congress.

Boucher said he needs to see whatever deal is being cobbled together.

"I am very concerned about a number of things. First, we do not have a text of the legislation before us. That is still being discussed and negotiated. Obviously, I will withhold any judgment until I review it very carefully. I do have concerns about a number of matters I anticipate being in the draft, however," he said.

Boucher said he is hearing that cuts to Medicare funding to help pay for the reform package "may be as great as $500 billion. That's 'billion' with a 'B.'"

A funding cut of that significance would jeopardize the financial health of hospitals and physicians in Southwest Virginia, he said.

"I am persuaded that Medicare cuts at that level would impair the delivery of health care within our region. We have a large population that receives Medicare. It is the principal source of income for our nonprofit hospitals and virtually all the hospitals in my district," Boucher said.

"Also, so many of our doctors receive a significant part of their income from Medicare as well. So from the vantage point of our senior citizens and the vantage point of hospitals and doctors who deliver health care, these levels of Medicare funding reductions that I anticipate being in the measure are simply not acceptable, and that fact will weigh heavily in my perception of the legislation when I have the opportunity to review it."

If reform advocates want to know why their poll numbers remain well under water, one need look no further than comments like this. This is a Democrat talking about how the bill will cut Medicare too much. For nearly a year, we have seen precisely this. It hasn't been Democrats versus Republicans. It's been Democrats versus Republicans and Moderate Democrats.

At any rate, Boucher was on my list of "Hard to Persuade," and I was very skeptical he would every go along with the reform efforts. He voted for cap-and-trade last year - a high-risk vote considering his district. That ultimately drew a top-tier challenger in Morgan Griffith, the Majority Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates. Boucher needs to put distance between himself and the President. These comments are a strong indication that he plans to use next week's vote to do precisely that.

Update, 11:00 PM 3/12 CNN reports that Heath Shuler will vote nay. I already had him in my "Very Hard To Persuade" category, based upon comments he made to a local news outlet that expressed reservations about using reconciliation. I have updated the link.

Update, 12:01 PM 3/12 Moving Ben Chandler (KY-6) from the "Hard to Persuade" category to the "Very Hard to Persuade" category, based on this report from Greg Sargent:

Dem Rep Ben Chandler of Kentucky, a prominent Blue Dog who voted No last time but has since been undecided, will vote against the Senate bill.

"Congressman Chandler's position on the bill remains the same," Chandler spokesperson Jennifer Krimm tells our reporter Ryan Derousseau. "He expects to vote against the legislation."

John McCain performed very well in Chandler's Kentucky district, which includes Lexington. I'm not surprised by this bit of news. Chandler was always going to be a tough get for the leadership.

Update, 7:15 PM 3/11: More bad news for reform advocates. Henry Cuellar (TX-27) appears to be a Stupak Democrat, according to Investor's Business Daily:

"I want to make sure that the Henry Hyde amendment that federal funds not being used for abortion is adhered to," said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, who says he's a Stupak supporter.

I had Cuellar on my list of Democrats who had voted yes but who had since signaled they might not stay on board. I had also suspected that he might be a Stupak Democrat, but the public documentation I had did not suggest that. The previous report emphasized his concerns about the bill's impact on rural people. The comments from Cuellar today are much stronger and more pointed, even though it doesn't change the overall counts. I'll update the documentation below with this new piece of data.

That IBD report also has harsh comments from Marion Berry (AR-1). He voted for the bill in November, and he had already signaled that he was part of the Stupak bloc, but today he had some very negative things to say about the bill:

"The way it treats Medicare is not fair to states like mine...And it treats pharmacists like the trash of health care providers."

Ouch. Like I said, bad day for reform advocates.

Update, 7 PM 3/11: The Hill reports the following about Luis Gutierrez (IL-4):

The healthcare bill's immigration provisions are enough to spur Hispanic members of Congress to vote against it, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said Thursday.

Gutierrez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) in which he serves as chairman of its Immigration Task Force, said the caucus still has concerns over the extent to which the healthcare bill excludes illegal immigrants as well as legal residents from receiving benefits in the healthcare plan.

"They are enough to say I can't support this bill," Gutierrez said during an appearance on MSNBC."

As I mentioned earlier in the day, I've decided not to include on this count liberal members whose objections come from the left. I think two points of amplification are appropriate to make:

(a) When push comes to shove, will Gutierrez choose to vote down a bill that insures 30 million additional people? I'm skeptical.

(b) Gutierrez comes from a one-party district, meaning that there's nobody to run attack ads on him for saying negative things about the bill that he ultimately votes for. This distinguishes him from a guy like Heath Shuler, who has made negative comments about using reconciliation. Shuler is somewhat locked in now - at the least, he can expect that if he supports a reconciliation process, his opponents will attack him. Gutierrez does not have that kind of worry (neither does Capuano), which in turn makes me suspect that he and Capuano might be trying to bargain.

Nevertheless, to have liberals like Gutierrez and Capuano talking negatively about the bill is a bad sign for the Democratic leadership as they try to push this through. If Gutierrez and Capuano are articulating a common sentiment among the progressive and minority factions in the caucus, that is really not a good thing.

All in all, today seemed like a bad news day for reform advocates. You have comments from Gutierrez and Capuano. You have the suggestion from Chairman Waxman that they're abandoning an attempt to strike a deal with Stupak. You have the decision of the Senate parliamentarian that the Senate bill has to become law. A rough day. The silver lining for reform advocates was that Vic Snyder (AR-2) has signaled that he is still on boar. Snyder voted for the bill in November. He is also retiring, so the leadership really has no excuse not to get him. But still, a bright spot on a cloudy day for reform proponents.

Update, 3:45 PM 3/11: Talking Points Memo reports that Michael Capuano (MA-8) has serious reservations about the Senate bill. They quote in full the text of a letter he sent to his constituents. It is highly critical. Still, I'm not prepared to put him on this list because of my skepticism about defections from the left. When push comes to shove, I think members like Capuano will vote with the President rather than kill the bill.

Even if it doesn't merit inclusion in the count, this news is not insignificant. If the left wing of the House caucus is lukewarm (at best) about this bill, and the middle/right of the caucus is nervous about the political implications - the Speaker has an even tougher time getting to 216. I firmly believe that Capuano will be there if she has 215 votes and needs one more, but comments like his prevent her from getting even that close.

Update, 3:30 PM 3/11: Adding Tim Bishop (NY-1) and Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8) to the list of Democrats who voted yea in November but who are now undecided, thanks to this report from CNN:

CNN also contacted a number of House Democrats who voted in favor of the November House bill and who also represent conservative or competitive districts.

Of those, Reps. Michael Arcuri of New York, Marion Berry of Arkansas, Tim Bishop of New York, Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, Daniel Lipinski of Illinois and Bart Stupak of Michigan said they would vote against the Senate bill as written but said they would consider supporting it with significant changes.

Also, to reitierate, to get on this list of former yes votes who are now reconsidering, it is insufficient just to say something like, "I'm going to wait and see." These members have to express that they have substantive concerns that go beyond things like the Cornhusker Kickback. With CNN saying that Bishop and Giffords need "significant changes" and with it placing these two with others who are already on my list, in my judgment it is sufficent to add their names.

Update, 1:10 PM 3/11: Several readers have passed on this report about the Congressional Hispanic Caucus potentially voting no. I'm highly skeptical about defections from the left on this. I put Raul Grivalja in my count of previous yes votes who might flip to no - and then a day later he walked back his criticism. I think that - at the end of the day - there will be very few defections from the left. Possibly, even probably, just Dennis Kucinich. I think the rest of the liberal members will look at the final product and think that while it has warts, it covers 31 million people, and that makes it worth voting for. I'd note with interest that some 60 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus wrote a letter indicating in no uncertain terms that a lack of a public option is a deal-breaker - but, as we all know, it wasn't.

Update, 12:50 PM 3/11: The Hill reports that Mike McIntyre has confirmed to them that he is a no. I had him in my "Very Hard to Persuade" category because of his strong pro-life voting record. I'm updating the notation to reflect this statement.

The Hill's whip count differs from mine in several aspects, although at this point we both have 25 Democrats in our most negative category. Here are the differences.

-I have Jason Altmire (PA-4) in my "Very Hard to Persuade" category. They have him in their "Undecided" category. Altmire has been all over the map in the last few weeks - and I've noticed that he is maximizing his "face time," something that does not surprise me. He's a tough vote to categorize - but I'm keeping him in my "Very Hard to Persuade" category. He voted against the rule for debate on the House bill in November, which suggests that political positioning is a top concern of his. His district gave McCain 54% of the vote, so political positioning would predict a nay vote.

-They have John Adler in their "Firm No, Leaning No, Likely No" category, based upon his comments on Fox News Sunday. I have him in my "Persuadable" category.

-I have Allen Boyd (FL-2) in my "Very Hard to Persuade" category, based upon his criticism of using reconciliation to pass the bill, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. They him in their "Undecided" category.

-They have Jim Matheson (UT-2) in their "Firm No, Leaning No, LIkely No" category. I have him in my "Hard to Persuade" category.

-I have Heath Shuler (NC-11) in my "Very Hard to Persuade" category based upon his negative comments about the use of reconciliation to a local newspaper. They have him in their "Undecided" category.

-They have Harry Teague (NM-2) in their "Firm No, Leaning No, LIkely No" category. I have him in my "Hard to Persuade" category.

There is a lot of overlap here. And I can appreciate why The Hill has categorized these members differently than I have. I encourage you to book make their whip count, as well as the one my former colleague Reid Wilson is working on over at Hotline On Call. The inherent uncertainty of this project - and the inevitability of judgment calls on the part of the analyst - makes it most helpful for the readers to have multiple analyses close at hand.

Update, 12:07 PM 3/11 Tim Holden (PA-17) confirms that he is a no to a local newspaper:

"I will not vote for the Senate bill," Holden said. "It makes significant cuts to Medicare and Medicaid ... and the restrictions on (federal funding for) abortion are not as strong."

I already had Holden in my "Very Hard to Persuade" category because of his strong pro-life voting record. I'm updating the notation to reflect this statement.

Update, 6:15 PM 3/10 Steve Driehaus (OH-1) has put up the following statement on his website:

Last fall, I worked to pass legislation to bring needed changes to our health care system, while putting in place strict prohibitions on the use of taxpayer funding for abortion. The House will soon take up this issue again. When there is a final piece of legislation, I will take the time needed to review the bill and determine how I will vote. However, my overall position is unchanged. Health care reform is critically important for our nation, and I support efforts to enact changes to our system - if those changes are done the right way. But I'm firm in my commitment that I won't support legislation that provides federal funding for abortion.

I cannot determine whether this means that Driehaus believes the Nelson language in the Senate bill "provides (for) federal funding for abortion." I have made an inquiry with his office, and when I hear something definitive, I will update accordingly. Until then, I am not going to make any changes to this list.

Update, 11:45 AM 3/10 Adding Joe Donnelly (IN-2) to the list of Democrats who voted yea in November but who are now undecided, thanks to this report:

Joe Donnelly would prefer voting on health care reform one piece at a time.

Donnelly, the Granger Democrat who represents Fulton County in the U.S. Congress, points to the demise of an insurance industry anti-trust exemption. It was recently flushed by a 409-16 vote. "That's in the big (Senate health care reform) bill," he said. "But being part of the big bill, it's hard to get things done. When they stand alone, you can actually get things accomplished," Donnelly said...

Donnelly likes a lot about the bill, but its language on abortion is a "fatal flaw." For him, it is a deal breaker. "I would not vote for it," he said. He figures there will be a vote within a month or so. The abortion language is unpopular with "a significant" number of congressmen. It has the potential to kill the bill, he said.

Donnelly appears to be a Stupak Democrat.

Thanks to reader Ted for the tip!

Update, 12:45 AM 3/10 Taking Dale Kildee off the list of potential Stupak Democrats because of these comments.

Update, 5:50 PM 3/9 Courtesy of FireDogLake, Jerry McNerney (CA-11) walks back about 90% of the impression left in that report from Morgan Hill Times.

McNerney certainly has concerns with the Senate proposal, in particular the backroom deals that favored some states over others, and the level of coverage (31 million, down from 36 million in the Senate bill). But McNerney wants to see some fixes, and will hold for language before making a full appraisal of how to vote. When told that the reconciliation fixes under consideration included an elimination of those backroom deals, Hersh said that such changes "would certainly go a long way" toward making the Congressman more comfortable voting for passage. She expected to see "a number of corrections made" in the press about where McNerney stands.

It's a judgment call, to be sure, but I'm taking him off the list.

Update, 1:40 PM 3/9 Adding Jerry McNerney (CA-11) to the list of Democrats who voted yea in November but who are now undecided, thanks to this report:

McNerney criticized the current version of healthcare reform passed by the U.S. Senate for the deals it makes with certain states, its lack of a public option and the inadequate number of people it extends coverage to. He said he would not vote in favor of that version of the bill if it comes back to the House.

"We want to get our healthcare up to international standards, and we want to do it in a way that is American," McNerney said in response to a question from the audience. "Costs are escalating at a rate that's unacceptable, and the people want something done."

Thanks to Twitter follower "sulzinator" for the link!

Also, a note on methodology. My rule for adding former yea voters to the list of waverers has had to become a little more developed since I first published this list. My attitude is that it is not enough for a member to say that he/she is now "undecided." I need to read about them making a negative about the Senate bill. This is why, for instance, some journalists have John Spratt as "undecided" but he is not on my list because I have not heard a specific complaint from him about the Senate bill.

Additionally, I'm operating under the assumption that the special carve-outs like the Cornhusker Kickback are getting dropped in the final package, so if a member just complains about the insider deals, he/she won't get on the list.

In McNerney's case, he has said negative things about the Cornhusker Kickback. But that's not enough for me. McNerney also bemoaned the lack of a public option and insufficient coverage. Combine that with his statement that he won't vote for the Senate bill, and that's enough to put him on my list.

Update, 1:30 AM 3/9 Adding Steve Kagen (WI-8) to the list of Democrats who voted yea in November but who are now undecided, thanks to this report:

(Fox News 11) asked the Congressmen from Northeast Wisconsin about voting on the Senate bill...

"Let me put it this way: you're asking whether or not I trust the United States Senate, where they came up with a deal for Nebraska that the other states didn't get; where Louisiana would get a special deal. No, I don't trust the U.S. Senate," said Rep. Steve Kagen (D-8th District). "So I think I'd like to have a vote on something very meaningful."

Kagen said the health care bill should be split up into smaller bills.

"I have made the case to the speaker and also to the White House that we should take small pieces, small bites," Kagen said. "In the practice of medicine, I can't give a child a big pill. What do we do? We cut it up into pieces. Let's find things we can agree on."

Update, 6 PM 3/8 Adding Dan Maffei (NY-25) to the list of Democrats who voted yea in November but who are now undecided, thanks to this report, in which Maffei says, "The Senate bill, in my view, burns the village in order to save it. I will say, however, the president's direct involvement gives me hope they will come up with a compromise."

Update, 5:30 PM 3/8 Adding Henry Cuellar (TX-28) to the list of Democrats who voted yea in November but who are now undecided, thanks to this report. Also, Kathy Dahlkemper was on the list of suspected Stupak Democrats. Her representative confirms that the Senate abortion language is unacceptable, "period." Thus, I move her to the list of Democrats who voted yea in November but who are now undecided.

Update, 12:15 PM 3/8: Moved Dan Lipinski (IL-3) to the category of Democrats who voted yea in November who have now explicitly said something negative about the current legislation. The Weekly Standard reports:

Asked if the congressman is "open to voting for a health care bill that lacks the Stupak amendment," Lipinski's spokesman Nathaniel Zimmer replied in an email to THE WEEKLY STANDARD: "No. Congressman Lipinski will not vote for a health care bill that provides federal funding for abortion."

Lipinski was included on my list of potential Stupak Democrats. Now that he has "outed" himself as such, he goes into the list of Democratic supporters from November who are now wavering.

Update, 4:45 PM 3/6: A lot of readers have asked me for a head count on the vote. Unfortunately, I'm unable to give one at this point. Everything is just too fuzzy, and I generally like to put stuff up on the blog that I have a high degree of confidence in. For what it's worth, I don't see anything less than 35 defections from Democrats on this bill - including a very large majority of those who had voted nay in November. That doesn't say very much, I know, but it's the best I can do right now. Again, the lesson of Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky is that the only head count that we can have confidence in is the final roll call vote!

In the meantime, a major objective of this list is to clarify what I think are confusing and even inaccurate reports out there. I got tired of seeing so many journalists talk about the "39 Democrats," turning answers that are clearly punts (e.g. "I want to look at the bill") into claims of being "undecided," selectively emphasizing those nay voters who want to look at the bill over the yea voters who have major problems, and just plain ignoring local news reports.

Another objective is just to compile and collate information into reliable categories. Data is scattered all over the place - and I've trained Google Reader onto collecting as much of it as I can. I'll put the good news items up here. I like the categories I've put together. They seem reasonable enough. So, I'll continue to shift members between these categories as new information comes in.

Update, 2:45 PM 3/7: After the Sunday shows, I've decided to make no changes in any of my ratings. Jason Altmire said some positive things about the bill on Fox News Sunday, but he also brought up abortion, the Senate's willingness to deal in good faith, and the importance of public opinion in his (Republican-leaning) district. Those are all in the negative. Altmire's comments to the New York Times last week were much more direct, and directly negative. Generally, Altmire has a long track record of inserting himself into national news stores that deal with process rather than the issues directly affect his district. (Those of us who live in Western PA who pay attention to this kind of stuff find his media...umm..."savviness" kind of funny!) My hunch is that he wants to be in the game, but that he will ultimately be a nay because he wants to stay in Congress. After all, he voted against the House bill in Energy and Commerce, and then he voted against the rule on debate for the House bill. This is a member who is concerned about politics, and more specifically about building a solid record of opposition. I'm keeping him in the "Hard to Persuade" category - his vote against the rule in November remains the tipoff to me that he's playing political games. It's a judgment call, for sure, and that's why I'm spelling it out here.

Update, 3:30 PM 3/6: A recent report suggested that Raul Grijalva - co-chair of the progressive caucus - is leaning back toward supporting the bill. I have him on my list of fence-sitters who had previously voted nay. I'll keep him on for now, but he looks like a gettable vote if the final margin is close. Thanks to reader Michael for the tip!

Update, 2:30 AM 3/6: I am adding Baron Hill (IN-9) and Marion Berry (AR-1) to the list of Democrats who voted yea in November, but who are now reconsidering. Berry appears to be a Stupak Democrat. (Thanks to readers Darrin and Robert for sending in the links!) Also, I am moving Mike Ross (AR-4) from "Hard to Persuade" to "Very Hard To Persuade."

Update, 12 AM 3/6: Adding Dina Titus (NV-3) to the list of Democrats who voted yea in November, but who are now reconsidering.

Update, 4 PM 3/5: Eric Massa's planned resignation takes him off the list. There are now 37 Democrats who voted nay in November who will be Democrats when (if?) the next vote occurs. With the House vacancies being what they are now, Speaker Pelosi will need 216 votes to pass the bill.

***

There has been a lot of talk about the 38 House Democrats who voted against health care reform in November. There have been suggestions that some are about to flip, fueled in no small part by this piece from the AP:

In interviews with the AP, at least nine of the 39 Democrats -- or their spokesmen -- either declined to state their positions or said they were undecided about the revised legislation, making them likely targets for intense wooing by Pelosi and Obama.

I agree with Jane Hamsher: this is a non-story. For starters, we have to correct a basic factual error, one I have seen repeated again and again by authors who should know better: there are not 39 Democrats who voted against the bill in November. There are 38. There were 39, until Parker Griffith switched to the GOP. So, AP meant to say that 9 of 38 are either undecided or "declined to state" their position. Yet since this article was published, Frank Kratovil has since clarified his position; what's more, Michael McMahon had previously indicated that he was against the bill. So, let's call it 7/38, not 9/39. Update, 4 PM 3/5: With Massa's resignation, call it 7/37.

Is this a big deal? I don't think so. How many members should we expect to take a hard-and-fast stand on a bill that has not yet been finalized? If I were a Democratic legislator - I would say something like what (at least a few of) these members said: "I believe in quality, affordable health care for all. When there is a final package, I will read it and make a decision." Otherwise, I would look awfully prejudiced. The more interesting story, in my judgment, is that several have said they were already decided against the bill.

I'm compiling an alternative count that is based upon public statements and a few key factors, placing members into several categories - all of which allow for the possibility of a nay-to-yea flip. Even if a member comes out and says no, he/she might still change his/her mind. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky did exactly that in 1993 on the Clinton budget vote.

My categories are meant to be soft. The lines between them get pretty blurry at the margins. This is really more of a working list I'm compiling for myself, which I've decided to share because of all the spin and faulty information out there.

The first group I label, "Very Hard to Persuade," i.e. it will be no little feat to bring that member from a nay to a yea. I put a member in there if:

(1) The member has communicated something negative about the Senate bill, or the pending House-Senate compromise.

(2) The member comes from a district where John McCain won 60% or more of the vote, and is running for reelection.

(3) The member has a lifetime National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) score greater than 80%.

Several of these members possess more than one of these qualities. I listed the above qualities in what I think their order of salience is. A member's most salient quality is the one I've listed next to his name below.

I count 27 in this group:

1. Jason Altmire (PA-4) (communication)
2. John Barrow (GA-12) (communication)
3. Dan Boren (OK-2) (communication)
4. Rick Boucher (VA-9) (communication)
5. Allen Boyd (FL-2) (communication)
6. Bobby Bright (AL-2) (communication)
7. Ben Chandler (KY-6) (communication)
8. Travis Childers (MS-1) (McCain won 62%)
9. Artur Davis (AL-7) (communication)
10. Lincoln Davis (TN-4) (McCain won 64%)
11. Chet Edwards (TX-17) (communication)
12. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD-AL) (communication)
13. Tim Holden (PA-17) (communication)
14. Larry Kissell (NC-8) (communication)
15. Frank Kratovil (MD-1) (communication)
16. Dennis Kucinich (OH-10) (communication)
17. Jim Marshall (GA-8) (communication)
18. Mike McIntyre (NC-7) (communication)
19. Mike McMahon (NY-13) (communication)
20. Charlie Melancon (LA-3) (communication)
21. Walt Minnick (ID-1) (communication)
22. Collin Peterson (MN-7) (communication)
23. Mike Ross (AR-4) (communication)
24. Heath Shuler (NC-11) (communication)
25. Ike Skelton (MO-4) (communication)
26. John Tanner (TN-8) (communication)
27. Gene Taylor (MS-4) (communication)

The next category I call "Hard to Persuade." It's based upon two factors.

(1) The member's race is currently rated "toss-up" by Charlie Cook, and the member is running for reelection.

(2) The member comes from a district where John McCain won 55% to 60% of the vote, and is running for reelection.

Here are these members.

1. Betsy Markey (CO-4) (Cook rates toss-up)
2. Jim Matheson (UT-2) (McCain won 58%)
3. Glenn Nye (VA-2) (Cook rates toss-up)
4. Harry Teague (NM-2) (Cook rates toss-up)

That leaves six members I'd put in the "Persuadable" category.

1. John Adler (NJ-3)
2. Brian Baird (WA-3)
3. John Boccieri (OH-16)
4. Bart Gordon (TN-6)
5. Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24)
6. Scott Murphy (NY-20)

On the flip side, we have (so far) twenty Democrats who voted yes in November who have since suggested they might not be willing to sign on to a new bill.

1. Michael Arcuri (NY-24)
2. Marion Berry (AR-1)
3. Shelley Berkley (NV-1)
4. Tim Bishop (NY-1)
5. Dennis Cardoza (CA-18)
6. Jerry Costello (IL-12)
7. Henry Cuellar (TX-27) (see also here)
8. Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3)
9. Joe Donnelly (IN-2)
10. Steve Driehaus (OH-1)
11. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8)
12. Raul Grijalva (AZ-7) (Update, 3:30 PM 3/6: Or maybe not?)
13. Baron Hill (IN-9)
14. Steve Kagen (WI-9)
15. Dan Lipinski (IL-3)
16. Dan Maffei (NY-25)
17. James Oberstar (MN-8)
18. Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL)
19. Kurt Schrader (OR-5)
20. Bart Stupak (MI-1)
21. Dina Titus (NV-3)

What about the so-called "Stupak Democrats?" Berry, Costello, Cuellar, Dahlkemper, Lipinski, Oberstar, and (of course!) Stupak fall into this category, but there are probably others. I have two ways to gauge who they might be.

1. They voted for the Stupak amendment and they have a lifetime NRLC rating of higher than 80%.

2. They voted for the Stupak amendment and they signed a letter in June, 2009 saying that they would oppose a bill "unless it explicitly excludes abortion funding from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan."

I've made a note of those who fall into both categories.

1. Brad Ellsworth (IN-8) (NRLC score of 91%)
2. Paul Kanjorski (PA-11) (signed letter)
3. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) (signed letter)
4. Alan Mollohan (WV-1) (NRLC score of 97%)
5. Solomon Ortiz (TX-27) (both)
6. Nick Rahall (WV-3) (NRLC score of 97%)

Charlie Wilson (OH-6) has been mentioned as a Stupak Democrat, though he does not fit these categories. Using a different, but equally good, methodology - Chris Bowers of Open Left finds a lot of overlap. He adds Chris Carney (PA-10), Mike Doyle (PA-14), Baron Hill (D-IN), and Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1) while removing Kaptur and Ortiz. Kirkpatrick does not fit his methodology, having voted against the Stupak amendment in November - but the rest of them make sense. Doyle has a very high NRLC score (77%) while Hill and Carney come from pro-life districts. Update, 2:30 AM 3/6: As mentioned above, Hill has suggested that he is wavering, in part because of the use of reconciliation. Also, it's important to note that my methodology did not catch Marion Berry as a potential defector because of abortion. This just underscores the roughness of my count. Even members who seem to have committed can flip back. Remember MM-M!

Bottom line: Democratic leaders have a tough road ahead.

I'm going to keep updating this. Check back regularly with this page if you are interested. Also, if I've missed an important news items that relates to one of these members, please forward it to me at horseraceblog@realclearpolitics.com!

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-Jay Cost