Chris Bowers's blog
Over the summer, 60 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi stating they “simply cannot vote for” any health care legislation lacking a robust public health insurance option. Since 218 votes are needed for a majority in the House of Representatives, and since nearly all of the 177 House Republicans are certain to vote against any health care reform, this is effectively a threat from some of the more left-wing members of Congress to defeat President Obama’s push for health care reform.
And yet, this threat to defeat President Obama’s health care legislation actually makes these 60 House Progressives the strongest supporters of President Obama’s push for health care reform. To understand why, consider an anecdote from President Clinton’s first year in office.
The 1993 budget battle was perhaps the most bitter and protracted political fight of President Clinton’s first year. The budget passed by one vote in both the House and Senate, with no Republican support in either case.