We don't think it'll be this Sunday. And if it is, it'll be no.
Henry Waxman (D-Beverley Hills, and we're not making that up) says there'll be no deal with abortion foes. As everyone knows Waxman to be a less well turned out version of Nancy Pelosi, the statement is authoritative. There will be no reclaiming those votes.
The astute John Fund notes that some forty House Dems who voted yes last year are now explicitly undecided. There aren't enough favors in the world to satisfy all forty, as each will need one more favor than the previous received in exchange for a yes. As there's obviously no need to play this for suspense, we take it that these holdouts are largely still in play.
WSJ also notes that last-minute horse trading is slowing stuff down. Any deals that affect the bottom line might be held up further for checks with the now-exhausted CBO, whose director has complained publicly about his staff's 100-hour work weeks of late.
But isn't everyone treating this deadline as if it's certain, and isn't it obvious that Pelosi wouldn't announce a deadline without the votes? Yes, except that this isn't the first deadline missed, though it could prove to be the last. Yes, except that Pelosi has misoverestimated her ability to gather votes before. We note that even the very-pro-Obama AP is now hedging its reports about ObamaCare certitude, albeit with Obama still cast as Statesmanlike Hero.
Along the way, don't miss this remark by the astute and polite Peggy Noonan:
Excuse me, but it is embarrassing--really, embarrassing to our country--that the president of the United States has again put off a state visit to Australia and Indonesia because he's having trouble passing a piece of domestic legislation he's been promising for a year will be passed next week. What an air of chaos this signals to the world. And to do this to Australia of all countries, a nation that has always had America's back and been America's friend.*
Obama's cancellation of this major trip is akin to Carter's infamously impotent pledge not to leave the White House until the Iran hostages were free. Obama's pledge is a little different: instead of visiting key allies in a suit, he's going to basketball arenas in rolled-up shirtsleeves. Now the trip will be in June, but we wager that there will be no ObamaCare deal by then, either.
Noonan notes as well the President's pledge on Fox to "post" the bill so that everyone can read it before voting. We doubt that such can be done when the bill doesn't exist on Saturday but will be voted "up or down" on Sunday. That is, if there's anything voted: who knows what the House Rules Committee will concoct today?**
Either Sunday's vote will be no or Sunday's vote won't happen this Sunday. This stinker is dead, but they just won't bury it.
P.S. We draw attention to our breaking a SWNIDish rule in all this. We studiously avoid making statements about what will happen in the future, as the future is so heavily contingent on unpredictable stuff. In this case, we are willing to make an exception, both for the monstrous momentousness of what's happening and for its resonance with so many other episodes of our experience in which bad ideas have traveled through similar stages of anxiety only to end with a pathetic whimper.
*SWNIDish reminder: Australia is the only nation to have fought alongside this Republic in all its 20th century wars.
**We take the "deem and pass" strategy not to be a means of avoiding a direct vote on the stinker bill but a means to assure skeptical House Dems that they are indeed going to get a vote on the amendments to the Senate bill that they demand. A two-stage vote would leave those members without the assurance that they'd get what they need to pass the Senate bill, as they could be double-crossed by leaders or by other members who would vote down the amendments. Suspicions between the chambers and within the Democratic caucus are doubtless greater than animosities between the parties.