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Congress: Does she have the votes?

Per the New York Times, "Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is confident she will be able to get the votes needed to pass sweeping health care legislation in the House, even if it threatens the political careers of some members of her party."

More: 'Ms. Pelosi was asked what she would say to House Democrats who were 'in real fear of losing their seats in November if they support you now.' 'Our members, every one of them, wants health care,' Ms. Pelosi said. 'They know that this will take courage. It took courage to pass Social Security. It took courage to pass Medicare. And many of the same forces that were at work decades ago are at work again against this bill.' 'But,' Ms. Pelosi continued, 'the American people need it. Why are we here? We're not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress. We're here to do the job for the American people, to get them results that give them not only health security, but economic security.'"

Meanwhile… Only in Washington can reconciliation push people farther apart, NBC's Andrew Rafferty notes. Republicans John McCain and Eric Cantor appeared on "Meet the Press" yesterday to continue their call for Democrats to start over on a health-care bill and not use reconciliation to pass the legislation through the Senate. Cantor predicted Democrats would lose their majority in the House if "Speaker Pelosi rams this bill through the House using reconciliation," and McCain pushed his argument that the parliamentary maneuver was not meant to pass major changes in policy. However, it is the GOP that has taken heat for their history of finding ways to avoid a filibuster.  McCain has on nine occasions voted for legislation that was passed through reconciliation.  He said on Sunday, "Yes, I have voted for them, but I objected strenuously to us changing the rules of the Senate so that 51 votes would prevail."

Roll Call: "The games are over. With President Barack Obama's bipartisan health care summit now a thing of the past, House Democratic leaders are ready to play hardball and charge forward on reform in the way that they want to: by taking full advantage of their majority." But the House and Senate are still playing this game of which comes first.

The Hill: "The healthcare summit turned out to be Groundhog Day for Democrats, who have six more weeks of healthcare reform if they are to meet their latest self-imposed deadline. It won't be easy."

At 1:00 pm ET, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer gives a speech on fiscal responsibility at the Brooking Institution. "To return our budget to balance, President Obama is creating a bipartisan fiscal commission. Along with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid, I've pledged that its recommendations will get an up-or-down vote in Congress," Hoyer is expected to say, per excerpts. "Given the seriousness of our situation, the commission must come to a consensus, and Congress must act on its proposals at the end of the year… It seems to me that the only solution that can win the support of both parties is a balanced approach: one that cuts some spending and raises some revenue while avoiding extremes in either direction. A balanced approach would spread the effects of change across American society."

Hoyer will add, "Our willingness to put the welfare of our children ahead of our own -- to plant seeds for them whose fruit we may never taste -- is a powerful test of our character."

Blame the staff? The New York Post reports, "Rep. Charles Rangel was made aware that organizers of the Caribbean junkets he attended were grubbing for freebie plane tickets from corporate sponsors, according to a report from the House Ethics Committee. In a letter dated April 23, 2007, and carbon-copied to Rangel, the head of the Carib News Foundation solicited American Airlines to donate 90 round-trip first-class and coach tickets to cover flights to its conference that year in Antigua and Barbuda. Rangel attended that junket and one in 2008. The letter and an interview with Karl Rodney, CEO of the Carib News Foundation, were included in the House Ethics Committee report, which concluded that the Harlem congressman broke congressional rules by accepting junkets bankrolled by corporate sponsors."