By Jordy Yager - 11/07/09 05:23 PM EST
After months of teetering on the fence as to whether to support their party’s healthcare bill, several Democrats have broken out against the reform legislation in racing toward a vote.
Reps. Eric Massa (N.Y.), Frank Kratovil (Md.), Jim MathesonJim MathesonDems target Mia Love in must-win Utah House race Overnight Energy: Justices reject new challenge to air pollution rule Former Rep. Matheson to take reins of energy group MORE (Utah), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.), Walt Minnick (Idaho), Harry Teague (N.M.), and Mike McMahon (N.Y.) have all bucked their party’s leadership and announced their opposition to the bill, on which debate began in the House on Saturday.
The move may jeopardize the votes of members who support abortion rights, but it also won the measure the support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which could win over several key conservative votes.
Despite the efforts of President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaCannabis conversation urged at North American Leaders Summit Obama: 'There's still work to do' for gay community Our most toxic export: American politick MORE and House leaders who have worked for months with Blue Dog Democrats to try to find an agreeable common ground that would ensure their support on the healthcare measure, Matheson - the moderate coalition’s chairman - announced his plans on Friday to vote against the bill.
Pulling on all the White House’s clout, Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: US 'preferred a different outcome' on Brexit Abortion is weakness for Clinton VP favorite Overnight Defense: Biden hits Trump on national security | Dems raise pressure over refugees | Graham vows fight over spending caps MORE spent the past several days calling moderate Democrats to try to shore up support for the bill, according to Greg Sargent’s blog The Plum Line.
In the remaining hours before the Hosue vote, which could come as soon as Saturday evening, there still remain several Democrats who are undecided, like freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (Va.).
A posting on the liberal website Daily Kos calls on readers to focus on Reps. Michael Arcuri (N.Y.), Brian Baird (Wash.), Melissa Bean (Ill.), F. Allen Boyd (Fla.), Chris Carney (Pa.), Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyPost Orlando, hawks make a power play Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate narrowly rejects expanding FBI surveillance powers Senate narrowly rejects new FBI surveillance MORE (Ind.), Marcy Kaptor (Ohio), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Mike McMahon (N.Y.), Scott Murphy, and Glenn Nye (Va.) as key Democrats still on the fence.
Despite the intra-party opposition and indecision, Democrat leaders remain confident that they still possess the 218 votes necessary to pass the $1.2 trillion measure.