GOP Whip Estimates Democrats Still 11 Votes Short on Health Care

Chief Deputy Republican Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday afternoon he estimates Democrats are 11 votes short of the 216 needed to pass health care.

He pointed out that the Democrats could have 37 members of their own party vote against the legislation, and it would still pass.

McCarthy, on a conference call with bloggers, also said he wasn’t sure whether the Democrats would use the "Slaughter solution" to get health care through, which would prevent an up or down vote on the legislation.

“I think that will just make the American public so angry,” McCarthy said, adding it would be a “stupid move” on their part.

McCarthy said there are probably 51 representatives still undecided, including Democrats John Boccieri of Ohio and Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania. McCarthy estimated the earliest health care will come to a vote is late Saturday, but Sunday is more likely.

McCarthy thinks some of the delay can be attributed to Rep. Bart Stupak’s pro-life stance and that the Slaughter option is causing hesitation among Democrats themselves.

“I thought in the last two days, they have moved backwards,” McCarthy said.