Raw Deal

According to the New York Times, Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) will resign from Congress Monday.  Massa was a liberal “No” vote for the House’s healthcare reform, because he didn’t think the bill went far enough.  What this means though is that the magic # for health care passage is back down to 216 from 217.  You will recall that when Nathan Deal said he was going to resign, that dropped the number from 217 to 216.  When conservatives like John Fund started going crazy about that, Deal walked back his resignation saying he’d wait until after the vote.  Well, with Massa leaving the House, it’s back down to 216 (and for the record, if Deal now left it would still be at 216 because these things move in multiples of 2).

So essentially, Deal now gets no benefit from staying in Congress because his vote doesn’t change the Health Care calculus.  But…they might find time to hit him with that ethics report.


  1. HowardRoark says:

    No, he can still claim to vote against it. He wasn’t the deciding vote, but he still gets to use the line “I fought the fight against Obamacare” Is that worth the ethics investigation? Time will tell.

    • Well I would look at it this way. He already voted against it. Originally it passed the House with 220 votes, but one Republican who voted for it is now voting against it, and 3 Democrats who were for it have either died or resigned. So the new # for passage was 217, but only 216 Democrats remained who voted for it.

      When Deal was going to leave, it dropped it to 216, which meant if they could just hold the Yes’s from the first vote, they’d have enough to pass it. When Deal decided to stay, 216 became 217 and that means they would have to find someone else to be for it. More likely, some no’s will become yes’s and some yes’s will become no’s, and it’s a complicated process. Whenever you’re managing a process like that, the coalition building can be completely different if you’re trying to get to X or X+1.

      Now that Massa is leaving, it’s back to 216. So Deal gets to vote for it again, but his vote doesn’t matter this time.

      I’m kind of amazed that individual Republicans are holding together against it, even though it looks likely that it will ultimately pass. At this point, even a single Republican could probably demand significant changes to legislation if they were willing to vote for it (for example, letting people opt out of the mandate by agreeing to risk it and not be protected by the pre-existing condition reforms).

      I would have thought at some point, a few Republicans would have banded together and struck a last minute compromise, arguing basically this thing was going to pass anyway but we preserved some freedoms or some nonsense.

      • Henry Waxman says:

        To further complicate things, you have to consider that Members miss votes for illness, deaths in the family, etc, including several less-than-honorable reasons. Even very important roll call votes rarely include all Members.

      • Chris,

        Sorry, but this is a false comparison. These are two different bills. This bill does allow for federal funding of abortion and that’s just one of its many problems.

        There is no Stupak amendment for people to hide behind. Stupak has said that he and 11 others will vote against the bill for that reason. It will likely be more in the end.

        Every vote does count. We don’t know how close the botox-laden Pelosi is to getting the necessary votes.

        Bottom line: If Pelosi had the votes they would vote on it immediately. She’s still working to come up with the magic number and any method to get the votes is not beneath her.

        • ByteMe says:

          Your assumptions are incorrect, Ken. That’s not what’s going on right now. What they’re doing is figuring out what goes into the SECOND bill that will modify the first one.

          • Actually, it’s the second bill that may or may not ever happen that they are working on. 🙂

            House Democrats assume at their own peril that Senate Democrats give a damn about the political futures of the members of the people’s house.

        • Henry Waxman says:

          So, staff on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct are risking losing their jobs to leak this information???

          • AlanR says:

            Risking their jobs? They’ll likely get promoted. This is Washington. The only staffers losing their jobs are the guy Masa harrassed and Masa’s chief of staff for taking to leadership instead of shutting up.

          • ByteMe says:

            Risk losing their jobs to let the press know to expect a report in the next week or two? Seriously??


            • Mozart says:

              Ah, good to know “standards” are passe. Tell us, Byte, can we just chuck standards in general? Forget all about ethics and honesty? (I ask this to you, of course, quite tongue in cheek as it is obvious “standards” are something you and the other progressives eschew.)

              • ByteMe says:

                WTF are you blabbering about now, Mozart? Since I never used the word “standards” in my posting, your context is completely missing. Is there a “standard” for when the chairman of a committee tells the press when a report is going to be published? If so, back it up with facts instead of stupid innuendo and insinuation about my own character.

                In other words, f— off until you have something meaningful to contribute to the conversation.

                • Mozart says:

                  Ummm…which part did you take as a personal slam? Saying you didn’t care about ethics? Saying you didn’t care about standards? Or, just calling you a “progressive?”

            • Henry Waxman says:

              ByteMe, I would suggest you place a call to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and ask them if they are allowed to comment on pending investigations, and when they say “no,” ask them what would happen to them if they were caught leaking information.

              (202) 224-3121.

              • ByteMe says:

                Why don’t you do it for us and put the recording on YouTube for us?

                Oh, and make sure you ask whether the chairman announcing when a report is going to be issued is considered a “leak”.

                • Henry Waxman says:

                  Please post a link to back up your claim that Chairman Lofgren released this information.

                    • Henry Waxman says:

                      I’m sorry, you only implied that.

                      However, I would appreciate a link to back up this statement: “Reports are that the investigation is nearing release.”

                • Henry Waxman says:

                  I think the readers would appreciate your posting anything to back up your claim that the chairman of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is releasing information about the pending investigation. Of course, admitting the truth that you were simply posting false claims would be prefered.

                  • ByteMe says:

                    Again, Waxman, re-read very carefully what I wrote. Please indicate where I asserted this claim you want to believe I made.

                    • Henry Waxman says:

                      I think the readers would appreciate your posting anything to back up your IMPLICATION that the Chairman of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is releasing information about the pending investigation. Of course, admitting the truth that you were simply posting false claims would be preferred.

                      I am still waiting on a link to back up this statement: “Reports are that the investigation is nearing release.”

                    • Henry Waxman says:

                      You could just admit that you should have used “baseless rumors” instead of “reports.”

                    • ByteMe says:

                      Three postings on the same thread in 10 minutes. You really need to get a real job and help the economy out.

                      As to this: I am still waiting on a link to back up this statement: “Reports are that the investigation is nearing release.”

                      I re-read the source for my comment and it turns out I misread it. My bad there. The rest is you mis-reading what I wrote.

                    • benevolus says:

                      First of all, this is a silly argument to be having, but…
                      every friggin story about Deal resigning mentioned that it might be due to the impending ethics investigation. That only makes sense if it was imminent. Who knows what the damn source for that was. Maybe most people in politics just don’t believe in coincidences. But what’s the point in challenging the veracity of the speculation? It’s not like the thought originated here on PP.

                    • Mozart says:

                      But, but, but I thought PP was the center of the Universe???

                      Everything originates here and then spreads-out to the nether reaches of this state and beyond.

                      And, I do mean stuff that spreads….like fresh manure on a farm. SNIFFFFFFF! Ahhh…freshness!

  2. Sarah Scott says:

    I wonder if the Republican peanut gallery will scream as loudly with indignation at Massa (D-NY) as they did at Deal (R-GA)?
    Massa is leaving due to impending sexual harassment ethics problem. Deal is leaving Congress to devote more time to his run to become Georgia’s next governor.
    The petty nature of the ethics complaint against Deal is nothing compared to the blatant abuse of power that Massa is accused of.
    I certainly hope to hear all the pundits screaming in outrage that we have just lost another ‘no’ vote on healthcare. Or will the silence show us that the screamers were more afraid of Deal devoting his full attention to a campaign than they were of the loss of one vote. I wonder if there are a few candidates for the GOP nomination for Governor that might just be a bit nervous…

    • We are no more likely to be indignant about Massa than you are to spank your neighbors’ kids. Massa isn’t our responsibility; he’s a Democrat from New York. If he were a Republican from Georgia then it would be different. He’s not; it’s not. End of story.

  3. Part-Time Atlanta says:

    As long as the bill fails I don’t care who is voting against it…liberals, conservatives. A NO is a NO.

  4. reaganrev4 says:

    my math may be fuzzy here but if Deal had stayed resigned wouldnt Massa’s resignation have made it 215 instead of just 216? So that would mean Deal staying does make a difference. 217 – 2 =215, instead we are looking at 217-1=216…which does sound different to me…i think…maybe

    • It’s confusing. Before Deal’s resignation, there were 432 members (including Deal).

      432 / 2 = 216, but, if everyone votes, 216 yes and 216 no would be a tie, and a tie is a loss.

      So with 432, you need 217.

      When Deal said he was going to leave, that dropped it to 431. 431 / 2 = 215.5, but there is no such thing as a tie vote. So if 216 voted yes, now you’d only have 215 no votes. 216 yes, 215 no would be a win.

      Now imagine it goes down to 430. Half of that is 215, but you have the same problem as the 432, where a tie is a loss, so at 430, 216 is still needed to win.

      So it’s basically like this:
      435, 434 = 218
      433, 432 = 217
      431, 430 = 216
      429, 428 = 215
      and so on.

      So there is no difference between 433 and 432, but there is a big difference between 432 and 431, and then again no difference 431 to 430. Every other person that resigns is a big deal.

      So in an alternate history world, let’s say Deal resigned and stuck to his word. That would have reduced the threshold to 216 and Republicans would have cried foul. But then once Massa resigned, Deal could have said hey it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Essentially, Deal is now staying but since Massa left his vote no longer mattered.

      Most people speculated that Deal was leaving because of a looming ethics complaint. When conservatives pointed out that by leaving, he reduced the threshold to passing the bill, Deal decided that staying and making it harder for the Dems to pass healthcare outweighed staying and getting hit on ethics.

      But politics is based on the law of unintended consequences. Now with Massa gone (another no vote), Deal’s no vote is the 215th vote instead of the 216th vote. So assuming the Dems already had 216 yes votes, 216 is now greater than 215.

      It’s complicated.

      • Another thing to contemplate is that New York doesn’t have to have a special for Massa’s seat, they can leave it vacant. Republicans are favored to pick it up, but since they don’t need a special they might not get someone in there until next January.

        Of the 3 other seats, Democrats are favored to win 2 (Hawaii and Florida) and the other is a tossup (Murtha’s in PA). So, even if Dems win 2 and Republicans win 1, they are still netting 2 Yes votes for future legislation, which would get them to 218, or enough votes to pass other controversial stuff if their HCR coalition can hold up even if the full House votes.

        The interesting thing is now that his vote doesn’t matter, will Deal flip flop again and decide to bail so that the ethics complaint doesn’t drop?

        • AubieTurtle says:

          Political math makes me sad. Letting a congressional district go without representation for the better part of year in order to get a vote to go certain way doesn’t seem like democracy. Not that I’m totally faulting the Democratic leadership should a special election not happen. It is the people of New York who allowed such a situation to exist but it still seems wrong.

        • Mozart says:

          As someone pointed out above, not all Members are ever really present for all votes. So, head count or not right now for the passage of the bill, what matters is how many people are on the field when the vote comes down. Deal could still have an influence on the outcome if 2 on the other side happen to be, you know, in the bathroom with an intern at the time the vote is called.

  5. Chris says:

    I didn’t realize the vote in the house was so close. You are right that a some Republicans could get worthwhile concessions on the bill (to a point, I doubt the “I’ll take my risks and opt-out” would fly), why should they when the stand a better chance of taking back the majority my making the bill, and the backlash entirely on Pelosi & Reid.

    2010 will be referendum on Pelosi, Reid and Obama and it makes little political sense for Republicans to offer them face-saving measures.

    Good analysis though and welcome back. You gonna stay awhile?

  6. B Balz says:

    Yeah, this was a good analysis of the ‘inside baseball’ vote count.

    Slightly, off topic:

    Chris, what do you think of the States, perhaps up to 35 or them, that are claiming they will ‘opt-out’ of the Bill, if passed? Just curious.

  7. What did this guy actually do? The way the article was written, he could be a gay man who made a pass at a straight staffer… or he could be a straight man who said something homophobic to a gay staffer. Kinda weird that the A.P. left that vague.

  8. Progressive Dem says:

    Some of the House Democrats voted no on the House HCR bill because it included a public option. The Senate version does not have the public option, so some of these no votes will swing into the yes column when the Senate bill is considered in the House. As has been the case for Deal’s congressional career, his voice doesn’t have much impact.

    • ByteMe says:

      Yeah, somehow we’re leaving the fuzzy math of vote counting to people who believe that the votes from the first House bill are not going to change when it comes to the next TWO HCR bills. The lone (R) yes vote will change… and so will some of the (D) no votes.

      • Progressive Dem says:

        Yeah, I’m sure Congressman Deal put that organization together. What is his signature accomplishment? In what way did he show leadership in Congress. Oh, I know. The guy is a party switcher. There is some outstanding leadership. At 50 years old, the guy changes parties. He gets elected on Bill Clinton’s coat tails in 1992 then after winning re-election he switches parties four months into his new term. What a man of principles! He’s been in elective office most of his life and he suddenly realizes he is in the wrong party.

        If you have to look it up his signature accomplishment, does it really count?

        • IndyInjun says:

          I looked it up.

          From his taking office in 1993 through the end of the Bush Reign of Error at 12/31/08, the publicly held debt of the USA increased from $4.1 Trillion to $10.7 trillion for an increase of approximately 150%.

          This is the publicly held debt that doesn’t even include SS bonds.

          Nor does it include the $6 trillion GSE debt that a GOP president nationalized.

          The ‘smaller’ publicly held debt is $120,000 for a family of four.

          That is Deal’s real achievement.

          • IndyInjun says:

            OK. The $10.7 million is the total official debt and it includes the debt issued to the SS administration.

            This is still about $120,000 per family of 4 for 350 million Americans.

            If you figure 18 years at 365 days per year, the INCREASE in debt during Deal’s stay was more than $1 Billion per day.

            Your children will weep for his accomplishment.

            • Mozart says:

              That’s just a silly analogy, Indy. Unless you can prove that Deal was Speaker of the House, Majority Whip & Minority Whip, all at the same time for all those years (and thus had a lock on every vote in every major caucus of the House), your statement smacks of irrelevance.

              And, completely off your usual, well-thought out swats.

  9. Game Fan says:

    Public option? Republicans vs. Democrats? Abortion? BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAHAAAAA? Wrongo!

    No, much to the chagrin of the party operatives, (an “inconvenient truth” her folks) but this whole trench warfare or “Democrat vs. Republican” is just a bunch of HOOEY!

    • Game Fan says:

      And the answer, (drum roll please) or, one of the important divisions, acknowledged by various experts (outside the corporate media and the corporate establishment) would be the growing sentiment, or realization, of the populist vs. corporatist dichotomy. And the growing “common ground” between various Democrats, Libertarians, Republicans, and independents that the “big names” and the “big moneyed interests” ain’t about serving the people, but rather, funding that offshore account, or, keeping that “glossy photo” out of the headlines, special interests, quid pro quo on steroids, payola, blackmail, lobbyists, pages, wide stances, airport bathrooms, paying for that lake house, ect…

  10. IndyInjun says:

    The health care bill is much to do over nothing.

    The damned thing is not remotely workable.

    Let the Dems pass it and march to extinction.

    Good riddance.

    That way we can concentrate on cleaning out the GOP louses that killed America financially and economically, too.

    • GOPGeorgia says:

      My preference is for them not to pass it. When is the last time the federal government got rid of a department/agency it created?

      • IndyInjun says:

        The way they are headed, we will be losing ALL of them.

        Of course they will all act like the Georgia Board of Regents and nail the people to the wall before they go.

      • B Balz says:

        Absolutely spot on correct, GOP. The big selling point to States about these health industry finance reforms is that the State portion of Medicaid is paid for by the US Treasury, thus allowing many new and previously uninsured folks for get onto Medicaid. Medicaid was designed for the poorest of the poor, sickest of the sick, AND NOT the general population.

        In seven years, that will change, with the Feds paying less for State Medicaid, and each State will be left with thousands of new enrollees with low level, yet costly coverage

        Plan proponents talk about MediCARE and MediCAID as if they are wonderful, Cadillac health insurance plans. They are not.

        Philosophicall and throughout history, when you reduce populations to dependence, the society is at its’ end stage.

        Chicago style vote counting is what is going on now in WDC Aubie, and I don’t see people rising up in huge numbers to object.

        • Donna Locke says:

          Obama is expanding Medicaid to higher income levels with or without passage of health-care reform. He plans to get his way regardless.

          • B Balz says:

            And as the people expect their government to do more for them, we see further erosion of our independence.

            The course charted leads to disturbed waters.

            • Republican Lady says:

              As I said on another post, we need to get back to the Kennedy quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

              It is an alien concept to some, kinda like telling a sullen teen-ager, “no you can’t use the car until you do your homework, clean your room, bring your grades up, etc.”

              We as a society need to start taking care of ourselves and not to expect “government” to do it all, just like kids need to become self-sufficient and not expect parents to do it all.

              • ByteMe says:

                Or we need to accept that we need to pay for the level of government we expect. Since Reagan, we’ve been sold a bill of goods that we can have a large government AND low taxes and that’s just bull.

                • Republican Lady says:

                  You are so right but how can we do it? If we have an ungrateful child at home, and he/she is old enough, we use the tough love approach to push them out of the nest.

                  Some of the posters, two in particular who probably should remain nameless, remind me of the “do as I say because I’m smarter than you… I am the only one who knows the truth,” and use “the sky is falling” scare tactics of half-truths, threats, and innenundoes to make points. Charles Manson had those grandiose ideas and he was removed from society.

                  It took 50 years of political mistakes to get here, hopefully, it won’t take 50 years to find a balance of personal responsibility and government to become self-sufficient.

                  • ByteMe says:

                    How do we do it? I think it’s going to come down to either one party or one branch of the government saying “Ok, here’s the truth. The truth is that we’ve been borrowing money to push our economy along for the past 30 years and the loans are coming due, so we need to start collecting from everyone until the debt is repaid. The people loaning us the money have told us that we got the money cheap in the past, but now they want rates we can no longer afford. So here’s where we spend the money (see chart, not included with this post). Here’s where we raise the money (see next non-included chart). If we don’t change what we’re spending, here’s how we propose to change the tax rates to raise our tax revenues above our spending (so we can pay some of the debt off).” That should at least kick off the wider discussion of what we can afford to have vs. what we have instead of the scare tactics being employed by all parties (“we can’t raise taxes or we’ll kill the economy!” and “Such-and-such program can’t be touched because…” and “Medicare and Social Security are going to swamp the economy!”).

                    Of course, I doubt that any of the career politicians are willing to do it. We’re obviously not adult enough to handle the conversation without shooting all the politicians.

      • polisavvy says:

        I can’t recall when that ever happened, GOPGeorgia. You are so right. I did hear some debating on TV yesterday; and, as was said, even if it does pass, there are some constitutional challenges coming. It may never see the light of day. Also, a constitutional expert said that the reconciliation method could also be constitutionally challenged. What’s your take on that aspect?

        • GOPGeorgia says:

          Reconciliation is only supposed to change dollar figures and nothing else. If bill A passed by the house calls for 1 trillion dollars worth of spending, bill B passed by the senate calls for 1.2 trillion, the reconciled billed by joint committee could do a few things. It could set the spending at 1.1 trillion, it could set it 800 Billion, or it could set the spending at 2 trillion. The reconciled bill would then have to be voted on 1 more time, with a 51 vote majority in the senate.

          What it cannot do is take 1 trillion from health care and shift it to another program, such as building New Orleans on stilts. The fine details about weather or not to give special deals to Nebraska or Louisiana have to be agreed upon by the house before going into reconciliation. If they don’t, the SCOTUS would probably throw those parts out, if not all of it. It’s risky to do it that way.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            The fact that some states are getting better deals than others is a good start for challenging to the SCOTUS. ….Just my opinion, I’m not a lawyer.

          • Captain Phatbeard says:

            GOPGeorgia wrote:

            What [reconciliation] cannot do is take 1 trillion from health care and shift it to another program, such as building New Orleans on stilts. The fine details about weather or not to give special deals to Nebraska or Louisiana have to be agreed upon by the house before going into reconciliation. If they don’t, the SCOTUS would probably throw those parts out, if not all of it. It’s risky to do it that way.

            Respectfully I think the SCOTUS cannot interfere with a breach of reconciliation rules for two reasons.

            First, if reconciliation rules somehow have force of law, that law is imposed by the Congress, not by the Constitution, and Congress can choose to ignore it whenever Congress feels like it. This is because the previous reconciliation law is now superseded by the most recent legislation.

            Second, my understanding is that the reconciliation rules are rules that are internal to the House and Senate. If that is true, then the limits on reconciliation are not even law to begin with and any breach of them is considered a political question by the courts and not a legal one.

            • GOPGeorgia says:

              The current reconciliation rules allow funds allocated in amounts to go up or down. They can not affect what it is spent on and cannot tackle issues of if abortions are funded by taxpayer dollars or not, and certainly cannot add provisions to the house version of a bill to add senate language to give deals to Nebraska or Louisiana.

              Congress cannot just ignore a law. It can change one, but (I think) it will still take the same majorities to pass a law (w 60 votes in the senate) to change the reconciliation process.

              • Captain Phatbeard says:

                I agree that the law as proposed would violate the reconciliation rules. My point is that there is no entity other than Congress that can enforce that rule. No court (including the Supreme Court) can invalidate a law on the grounds that it abused reconciliation.

                Congress simply is not (legally) bound by the reconciliation rule any more than it wants to be, and the breach of that rule may cause a controversy in the court of public opinion but it cannot create one addressable in a court of law.

              • polisavvy says:

                If that is the case, which, according to what I’ve been hearing on TV seems to be the same thing you are saying, how are they going to get away with this? Seems like it goes beyond the scope of reconciliation to me.

        • benevolus says:

          If reconciliation is constitutionally challenged, I would thing a challenge to filibustering would not be far behind.

      • B Balz says:

        Y’all really ought to look at the legislation that Reps. Deal/Burgess propose for health industry finance reform.

        HR3821- 3824, HR4018 – 4020

        These are great examples of how health industry finance reform doesn’t have to cost $1T or get the Feds into your medical record.

        I am not his biggest fan, nor a constituent, but at least attempt to paint the picture with a brush of objectivity.

        • ByteMe says:

          Just shoot me. I actually just read them. And, no, they don’t help.

          They don’t bend the cost curve at all. Only two ways to do that: either mandate/provide insurance for all funded by all OR change the current model from employer-based insurance to individual-based insurance (which then shifts the costs directly to individuals and makes them more obvious than our current system where most employees don’t know what their health insurance costs). None of the bills do either.

          None of the bills does anything about encouraging healthier living to lower costs. I’ve heard about a plan in Europe where you get a insurance refund if you don’t smoke for something like 5 years.

          The bills won’t cover everyone. Note the use of the word “encourage” in 4020. States — like Georgia does now — are free to ignore. Meaning people are still going to get screwed when they get sick. And most likely it’s going to be the states that think of their people as being less important than produce where “encourage” will mean nothing.

          • Harry says:

            Re impending default on pre-8/08 Fannie/Freddie debt, here’s a good comment from zerohedge –

            Barney Frank, Pelosi etc. are now wanting to position themselves as “anti-government-banking-crime-syndicate-that-stole-from-and-bankrupt-the-West” and not “pro-government-banking-crime-syndicate-that-stole-from-and-bankrupt-the-West”….As this thing turns into trials for fraud and treason, televised lawsuits and congressional hearings, and trials, look for all these folks to turn tail.

            • IndyInjun says:

              Ah, reading zerohedge?

              A good site that does very deep research.

              They missed last week when they fired at Isakson. I looked up the bill in question and did not see , at least not yet, the dire portends that ZH mentioned.

      • polisavvy says:

        FYI, I am not in any type of timeout, jerk. I am recovering from walking pneumonia. As far as being the persona of anyone else, I most certainly am not. I say what I want and if you don’t like it, well too damn bad. You offend me (and a good many others on here) on a fairly regular basis and I never engage with you, insult you or call you names; however, after this comment, things could change. Keep your eyes on your own paper, why don’t you? I apologize if this is construed as threadjacking; however, Waxman deserved a response.

  11. polisavvy says:

    According to the AJC, it is interesting to see that the Georgia Democrats have asked the House Ethics Committee to resume the investigation of Mr. Deal. Since there are conflicting reports as to whether or not his vote could potentially be the deciding vote, I wonder if he has hurt or helped himself.

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