Whip Count (No. 3 in a series): Retiring Baird On the Fence

From Yunji de Nies:

Salon.com reports that retiring Washington Democrat Brian Baird switch may vote against the healthcare bill. The Congressman told Salon, "The House bill was less bad than the status quo, but that doesn't make it good in my mind.”

Baird said much of his hesitation lies in the fact that he’s unsure of what will actually end up in the legislation.

"We're going to be asked, 'Okay, up or down,' on a Senate bill, under reconciliation rules which we don't know will the Senate vote for it, will it be included under reconciliation," he said. "So they're going to say, 'Okay, vote for this bill, because it would do X,' but under reconciliation, X may not make it past the parliamentarian's gate... We're not sure what's in it [and] we don't know whether it'll pass the Senate anyway."

Baird is one of three House Democrats who voted no last November, but is retiring, so presumably would not face the same pressures as his colleagues who are up for re-election.

As we’ve previously covered, 220 members of Congress voted for the bill when Pelosi brought the House legislation to a vote.

Since then, four yes votes are no more: Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, R-Louisiana, has said he won’t vote for final passage, Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hi., retired to run for governor, Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., also retired, and Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., died.

That means to pass the Senate bill, Pelosi starts out with 216 members of Congress who votes yes last time. With the pending retirement of Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., there will soon be only 431 Members of Congress total, meaning a majority will be 216 votes.

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