Yesterday TPM ran a story talking about how Tuesday’s election made healthcare reform just a “bit easier”. Here is the basic overview of that reasoning:
The NY-23 seat abdicated by Republican John McHugh (who resigned to become Secretary of the Army) went to Democrat Bill Owens--the first Democrat to hold the seat in over a century. And the CA-10 seat abdicated by Democrat Ellen Tauscher (who resigned to become Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs) went to Democrat John Garamendi.
That creates some simple arithmetic. Yesterday, Democrats had 256 voting members in the House. By week's end, they'll have 258. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could afford to lose no more than 38 Democratic votes on a landmark health care reform bill. Next week, after Owens and Garamendi are sworn in, she can lose up to 40. For legislation this historic and far-reaching, she'll need every vote she can get--and both seem likely to support reform
Sadly this little celebratory post may have been premature. Democrats have never been good at reading the tea leafs, and that is becoming more evident as election 2009 fades further into history:
Democrats on Capitol Hill began a nervous debate Wednesday about the course President Obama has set for their party, with some questioning whether they should emphasize job creation over some of the more ambitious items on the president's agenda.