Countdown to Health Care Vote Spurs Final Push from Dems, Opponents

health care

Both sides of the health care debate are unleashing a full court press in the final hours Democrats have to unveil their reconciliation "fix it" bill and take a vote on the package. Votes are being tallied, last-minute ads are airing, protests continue and behind-the-scenes negotiations could make all the difference.

As many as 40 votes are in play, according to the New York Times' helpful graphic explaining the House votes. Those 40 votes are could quickly fall into place. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), for instance, has resisted supporting the Senate health care bill -- and even voted against the House bill last year because it was not liberal enough -- but he will reportedly announce this morning he will vote for the bill this weekend.

The current tally may change depending on whom one asks. CNN concludes opponents of reform are just 11 votes away from blocking the measure.

To gauge what's at stake -- and whose votes are still in play -- one simply has to follow the money. About a dozen key House districts are being deluged with health care ads from all sides this week, Politico reports. Both advocates for the bill and opponents have spent a total of $185 million in the past year, Politico reports, with both sides essentially going head to head.

The final push for action includes grassroots lobbying from progressives still calling for a public option and conservatives holding "Code Red" rallies in opposition to the whole reform package.

Dennis Kucinich to Vote Yes on Health Care Special Report: Health Care

Democratic leaders are making personal appeals as well. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will hold a special Democratic meeting today to update his members on the progress of the legislation, according to Politico. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is gathering all of the female House Democrats to a meeting this morning on an undisclosed topic, Roll Call reports.

President Obama has also been personally appealing to individual Democrats. The pressure he put on Kucinich worked -- the congressman announced today he will vote in favor of the bill, in spite of the fact that he is still not happy with it.

Mr. Obama is also still working on Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), who voted against the House bill last year, Politico reports. The president has reportedly called Altmire three times in the past two weeks, leaving the congressman undecided about how he will vote this week.