Massa’s Resignation Good News for Health Bill Backers

Posted March 5, 2010 at 6:55pm

Rep. Eric Massa’s (D-N.Y.) sudden decision to resign from Congress has a silver lining for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — it means she’ll need to find one less vote for health care.

Massa was one of two liberal lawmakers to vote against the House’s health care bill — Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is the other — and Massa had been expected to continue to vote no.

With Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) waiting before resigning until after the health care vote, Pelosi would have needed 217 votes assuming all Members show up to vote. Massa’s decision lowers the magic number to 216.

The House health care bill passed 220-215, but Pelosi at the moment is short of the votes she needs to pass the bill because of other Democratic resignations, the death of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), and opposition from abortion foes led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) who voted for the House bill but have vowed to kill the final bill unless it includes a strict ban on health insurance covering abortions for people receiving federal subsidies.