A poorly maintained secret is that Congressman Altmire's health care vote the first time around was one of the final few recorded by the Clerk, because Rep. Altmire was not prepared to vote against reform unless the bill was positioned to pass without his vote.
Today's announcement suggests Rep. Altmire has been advised (after today's caucus, from which headcounter Jim Clyburn emerged with a "we will have the votes . . . when the roll is called" confidence) his vote will not be necessary to ensure a victory for reformers this weekend.
Announcing an intended vote today seemed dumb for two reasons -- circumstances could change, and this is yet another unnecessary slap at Democratic supporters by a still-learning politician -- but Democrats seem entitled to ignore Rep. Altmire's most recent misstep and take heart from the signals sent by Reps. Clyburn (and, perhaps inadvertently, Altmire) this afternoon.