Harvey Kronberg's Quorum Report makes the good point that insurance reform is so popular with voters that the Republicans blocking a rules suspension may pay a price in 2010.
Quorum looks at the popularity of insurance reform in a recent poll, and concludes:
[The poll's release is]a message to the Republican signators blocking a suspension of the rules.
Democrats have offered several times to suspend the rules to take up critical policy matters falling beneath Voter I.D. on the calendar. But Voter I.D. is the GOP's top 2009 priority, and they are willing to sacrifice insurance reform and other critical issues to get what they want.
Fifty-nine or 60 of them are on the record in the House journal opposing suspension. (They've filed three such suspension blocking letters. I can only find one online so far in the official House Journal.) Not hard to link that on-the-record block to the failure of insurance reform. Here's the list of GOP members, taken from the House Journal, who are on the record against insurance reform.
The following members gave notice of a standing objection to suspending the regular order of business:
Isett, F. Brown, Bohac, B. Brown, Anderson, Smithee, Keffer, Truitt, Flynn, Eissler, Fletcher, J. Davis, Berman, Jackson, Hardcastle, Paxton, Cook, Driver, Lewis, Hunter, Jones, Hartnett, Orr, Taylor, Laubenberg, Harper-Brown, D. Miller, Button, Parker, Zerwas, Kolkhorst, Sheffield, Hamilton, W. Smith, Branch, Kleinschmidt, Hancock, Swinford, Madden, Weber, Aycock, S. King, Otto, Creighton, S. Miller, Craddick, Crownover, Geren, Bonnen, Christian, T. Smith, McCall, Shelton, Hughes, P. King, Woolley, Patrick, Darby, and Hilderbran.
UPDATE — It's also clear this afternoon that the GOP, including Speaker Straus, is today trying to spin a spurious connection between this year's GOP voter suppression bill and a '97 proposal involving ID requirements for voters not on the rolls and without a voter registration card. Straus called it “complete hypocricy” for Dems to oppose this year's proposal if they supported the '97 proposal. This year, of course, the GOP wants additional IDs from voters on the rolls and with a voter registration card. This sort of poor, half-baked opposition research is laughable. The bills are radically different.
UPDATE # 2 — Here is language from bill analysis of the '97 bill being spun by Republicans as equivalent to this years bill.
Current election law does not allow for a separate ballot box for the affidavit ballot. Quickly locating ballots voted by affidavit is essential to a smooth-running, non-controversial election.
Get it? The '97 proposal applied to people not on the registration rolls and without registration cards — and it gives them a way to vote by affidavit. It made it easier to vote. This year's proposal restricts voting even by people on the registration rolls and with a registration card. And under the '97 proposal, a voter not on the rolls and without a registration card could vote just by signing an affidavit.
This is a weak and deceitful argument from Republicans.