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Thursday, February 11, 2010
Abercrombie resignation kills Obamacare majority in House
By Andrew Walden @ 1:51 PM :: 9088 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

by Andrew Walden

Challenged to stay in the US House in order to provide President Barack Obama with the deciding vote in favor of any Obamacare compromise, Neil Abercrombie has refused.  Naturally, the drama—which could be very damaging to Abercrombie’s standing among Hawaii Democrats—has played out with only the barest notice in Hawaii media.

Here’s the timeline:    

FDL: John Murtha Has Died (Feb 8)

…Another complication is the expected retirement of Hawaii’s Neil Abercrombie, who is running for Governor, at the end of February. So there’s a lot that’s unclear here.

Abercrombie’s departure would have changed nothing before Murtha’s death, but now it does – it would bring the House down to 432, with 217 votes still needed for passage – and only 217 members who voted for the House health care bill still in the House. And with the HC summit scheduled for Feb. 25, I don’t see much room for a vote before Abercrombie leaves. I’m guessing he’ll be pressured to stay if his vote is needed.

Am Spectator: How Murtha's Death Could Make It Harder to Pass a Health Care Bill (Feb 8)

Another complicating factor is Rep. Neil Abercrombie. The Hawaii Democrat announced early last month that he would resign Feb. 28 run for governor. However, in his statement announcing his resignation, he said that he had ensured Pelosi that he’d be around to continue supporting the health care bill. Back when he made that statement, Scott Brown hadn’t won yet, and thus the end of this month seemed like plenty of time to finalize the health care bill. Now that the timeline has been pushed back, perhaps he’d postpone the effective date of his resignation if Pelosi still needed his vote.

Will Abercrombie postpone his resignation to save Obamacare?  Here the answer:

SB: House will feel loss of Abercrombie (Feb 11)

Abercrombie spokesman Randy Obata said Abercrombie voted on a health care bill (HR 3962) on Nov. 9 that was sent to the U.S. Senate and also spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about fulfilling his remaining duties, before setting the Feb. 28 date.

That’s a “no”.  The Star-Bulletin continues:

But some conservative political observers say with the departure of Abercrombie, the Obama administration's health care bill seems headed for a tie vote in the U.S. House, tilting a bare 217-vote majority of the current 433 members (full membership is 435) into a stalemate -- 216 of the remaining 432 members.

Contributing to the change in support was the death of Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, the retirement of Florida Rep. Robert Wexler, and a switch to the anti-health care bill side by Florida Republican Rep. Joseph Cao.

“Conservative political observers?”  Apparently the SB didn’t notice the ultra-liberal Fire Dog Lake commentary—almost identical to American Spectator’s.

Conservatives may exult that after 19 years, Neil Abercrombie has finally done something great for the people of Hawaii and all Americans—by resigning!

But the liberal voters in Hawaii’s Democrat Primary may see it differently. 

---30---

MORE: Murtha’s Death Another Blow To ObamaCare

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