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House Progressive Caucus Chair: I'm Leaning Toward No

3:36 PM, Mar 3, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Salon's Mike Madden reports:

"As I weigh it, I think -- for me -- a 'no' vote is something that I continue to lean toward," Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told Salon in a brief interview off the House floor Wednesday. "Especially the last additions -- that was kind of a slap in the face for all of us who fought for the public option." ...

The progressive caucus probably won't whip its 79 members to vote for or against the healthcare bill, Grijalva said. Two of them -- Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y. (who isn't running again in November) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio -- voted no on the House version of the bill last fall. But now House Democratic leaders need to rally votes for the Senate's version, which is less palatable to liberals, and also for a separate package of "fixes" to the bill using the budget reconciliation process. The vote counts are in flux, but Democrats need 216 votes to pass the bill. They got 220 last time. Kucinich told reporters Wednesday afternoon he's still voting "no," at least for now. 

"I'm pretty certain there's more than just two this time," Grijalva said.

Is this just sabre-rattling meant to give Grijalva leverage to make the bill more liberal? Is it kabuki-theater meant to make it easier for Blue Dogs to vote for a bill being attacked from the left? Or is Grijalva, like Dennis Kucinich, honestly opposed to the bill?

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