Before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., brings the Senate Democrats' health care reform legislation to the floor for a vote, she and her team are currently assessing whether or not they have the votes to pass it.
They need 217 votes, a majority of the 432 members currently in Congress. They don’t have them right now.
If the House doesn’t have the votes, senior White House officials say they would like Congress to pursue a more modest health care reform bill.
But there seems little desire for that among House Democrats, who would like to focus on jobs.
“We are NOT doing scaled back bill,” a senior House leadership source emails ABC News.
When Pelosi last brought health care reform legislation to the floor last November, there were 435 members of the House, and she needed a majority – 218. It passed 220-215.
But since then, four of the bill’s supporters have gone away.
Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., died. Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, R-Louisiana, said he wouldn’t vote for the bill on final passage. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Florida, resigned.
And Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, has left Congress to run for governor. His resignation is effective today, and will be official Sunday.
That means Pelosi needs a majority of the 432 members of the House – 217. And assuming those who voted for the House bill vote for the Senate bill – a risky assumption, given the current political winds – she is starting off with less than that, 216.
One of the bill’s supporters, Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., has announced a run for Senate, making his vote possibly less assured.
Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., announced his retirement with more than a little bitterness in his voice about how the White House seemed nonchalant about his concerns that health care reform might hurt Democrats’ reelection prospects as happened in 1994. How would he vote?
“He has not made a decision on that yet,” a Berry spokesman says.
Here’s our GMA look at yesterday’s bipartisan health care reform summit: