Is it any coincidence that the Democrats are pushing for a health care reform vote on the opening weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? To answer my own question, no. After being in power for 14 months and eight months after the first of numerous deadlines, the Democrat leadership insists that reform must be passed this weekend and signed into law before the Sweet Sixteen begins. Get it passed or get it over with seems to be the mindset on Capitol Hill. Here with the latest news and developments.

According to NRO’s vote tracker, a number of Congressmen who voted for the Stupak amendment in November are caving now. Slate doesn’t have its meter up yet, but it would appear that the likelihood of “passing” something is above two-thirds. The New York Times indicates that Nancy Pelosi has the votes and that a weekend vote is imminent. Word in the Hill is that the bill will be posted on the House Rules Committee website sometime this afternoon. That will make Mark Levin’s constitutional challenge against a health care reform plan that is signed into law by not voted upon in Congress a moot point. I am hopeful that Jim Geraghty is right to insist that Pelosi can’t get to 216 but I do not see how the leadership would push for a vote they could possibly lose.

That aforementioned NYT Caucus Blog post makes note of a letter from the  National Catholic Social Justice Lobby urging Congress to pass a “life-affirming” vote for health care reform. That Social Justice is in their name should tell you everything about the organization’s left-wing politics. The Catholic bishops remain steadfast in their opposition to Obama’s abortion health care plan.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D, Mich) has fought a heroic battle against abortion funding in Obamacare and he has paid a price for it. He told The Hill: “You know, maybe for me that’s the best: I stay true to my principles and beliefs … vote no on this bill and then it passes anyways. Maybe for me is the best thing to do.” If he is truly against abortion funding, why would he want it to pass. I’m more than a little disappointed, yet this is understandable, even forgivable, considering what he has gone through for taking a principled stand. He doesn’t need David Frum mocking him. (Wear it as a badge of honour, Bart.) Unfortunately, some pro-life Democrats are being bamboozled into believing the Senate version of Obamacare would maintain the Hyde Amendment prohibitions against taxpayer funding of abortion; they are wrong.

You want some good news? (Of course you do.) Politico reports that Senate Republicans are working on a plan to defeat or stall reform in the Senate. I’m not convinced there is much they can do if the House passes the Senate version but the threat of stalling the bill and dragging out the debate might convince a few “jittery” House Democrats to note capitulate to the White House and Congressional leadership.

As for the real March Madness, despite all the controversy from last Spring, go Notre Dame!