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Can Pelosi find the votes?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists she has enough votes to pass health care reform. So why hasn't she?  
Nancy Pelosi.
Nancy Pelosi.
Corbis
T

hough House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she'd have the 216 votes to pass health care reform "if we took it up today," her GOP rivals are disputing Pelosi's math. They count 196 "no" votes, 187 "yes" votes, and 48 undecideds — and say the Democrats are losing momentum. In the constantly shifting fight to pass health care, is Pelosi's optimism based on reality or fantasy? (Watch a PBS discussion on whether Pelosi can keep the health care votes)

This is strategic wishful thinking: Pelosi's almost certainly bluffing, says Peter Suderman in Reason. No other Democrats are willing to back up her claim, and her team hasn't even begun its official vote tally. She's simply trying to shore up confidence amid "ongoing bad press."
"Nancy Pelosi has the votes to pass health care reform on a day on which there will not be a vote..."

Don't count Pelosi out yet: House leaders face a "staggering set" of hurdles in rounding up the requisite votes, says Jon Ward in The Daily Caller. Still, "the conventional wisdom is that Pelosi will somehow find a way to pass a bill." A lot rests on the final package that Pelosi presents to her wavering flock — and its Congressional Budget Office score.
"Uncertainty prevails in Washington as Democrats wait for health care Budget Office ruling"

Pelosi could have a trick up her sleeve: Pelosi might have the votes...to pass a different bill, says John Dickerson in Slate. House Democrats are working on a plan to approve the Senate bill while voting only on a popular "fix" to the bill, which would let them skirt the need to officially support the Senate bill. That would "limit their political exposure," but muck up Obama's call for an "up-or-down vote."
"Two for one"

Will it pass? Watch conservatives: I'd give Pelosi a 60 percent chance, says Jonathan Chait in The New Republic, and evidently some conservatives agree. After "gloating that health care reform was dead" in the wake of Scott Brown's stunning win in Massachusetts, conservatives are now warning Democrats of the "terrible consequences" that will befall the country if they pass the bill.
"Conservatives recognize health care reform might pass"

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SEE MORE OPINION BRIEFS ON THIS TOPIC:
Can Obama still sell health care?
Health care: Obama declares war
Are Dems caving on health care?
Health reform: Suicide for Dems?

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