John In The News
For House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who plans to take a health-care overhaul to the floor of the House on Saturday, this week's elections meant one thing: Two more votes.
In other words, Pelosi got more than another health-care vote out of Tuesday's election. She got another health-care wonk. It's probably a bit late for Garamendi to establish himself as a player in this reform fight, but the proposal is going to need guidance and modification after it's passed into law, and it'll be interesting to watch whether he proves a player in that phase.
Most of you know John Garamendi (if you know him at all) as the former California state official who won a special election for Ellen Tauscher's old seat in Congress. But those of us in the business of health wonkery know him as one of our own.
"This is the perfect job for John," said Barbara O'Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University in Sacramento. "He has been aspiring to this job for years and just didn't know it. He is the best equipped freshman congressman we have ever sent to Washington."
At her weekly news conference, Pelosi hailed Garamendi's arrival as "a great victory for our agenda." She said the biggest issue in the race was the Democratic health care plan, which was under attack, but that Garamendi still won big.
Yesterday's Overwhelming Historic Republican Victory Makes Democratic Health Care Reform Just A Bit Easier
That creates some simple arithmetic. Yesterday, Democrats had 256 voting members in the House. By week's end, they'll have 258. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could afford to lose no more than 38 Democratic votes on a landmark health care reform bill. Next week, after Owens and Garamendi are sworn in, she can lose up to 40. For legislation this historic and far-reaching, she'll need every vote she can get--and both seem likely to support reform.