Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Sure, the GOP won in VA and NJ...
...but did you know that the passage of real health care reform actually became more likely yesterday?
Most of the commentary about last night's elections has centered around Republican pickups in the New Jersey and Virginia statehouses. But what's gone largely unnoticed is that the two congressional seats up for grabs last night both went to Democrats, and that will have immediate ramifications for health care reform.How funny is it that a Democrat won the Congressional seat in New York's 23rd district for the first time in 137 years against a Republican who was basically a cardboard cutout of Glenn Beck?
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.