The way Rep. Darrell Issa sees it, House Republican leaders don't yet have the 218 votes needed to pass tax reform this week, or else they would not have provided the lavish breakfast spread for rank-and-file lawmakers to enjoy at their weekly closed-door meeting in the basement of the Capitol early Tuesday.
"My view is, they wouldn't have served the breakfast they served this morning if they had the votes to spare," said Issa, R-Calif.
"There's a truism. The better the breakfast, the more votes they need," he said. "It was very good."
Issa is among a group of lawmakers from high-tax states who are holding back their support for the tax bill, which lowers rates for most individuals, corporations, and small businesses, but ends popular tax deductions including the one for state and local taxes that Issa is fighting to preserve.
Republican leaders won't reveal the latest whip count. But despite Issa's estimation, many predict the measure is headed for passage when it reaches the House floor for a vote late Thursday afternoon.
"We feel good where we are," Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. said Tuesday after the breakfast meeting.
Other Republican lawmakers who left the meeting said it appears the bill is on track for passage.
"There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm," Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R- Ga., told the Washington Examiner. "I think it will pass with a good majority."
The faction of opposing lawmakers hail California, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Combined, they may not comprise a big enough faction to force GOP leaders to restore the deduction for state and local taxes.
Issa, who represents the high tax, high income San Diego area, is holding out hope that Tuesday morning's serving of bacon, eggs and tortillas is a signal the GOP leadership may still be looking for "yes" votes and could perhaps change the bill by Thursday to restore the state and local tax deduction.
"It's my hope," Issa said. "It's the only way I can vote for the bill on behalf of my constituents."
But other members said there was not much discussion about that issue Tuesday morning.
"They didn't talk much about it in there," Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., who opposes the legislation, said after the meeting.
The mood in the room was "very optimistic," he added. "For a lot of people it's probably a good thing. New Jersey is a special circumstance."
Ryan told reporters the bill will remain "a work in progress," that will ultimately be changed during negotiations with the Senate, which is marking up its own legislation this week.
"This thing is going to go to a conference committee, where we are going to deal with the concerns and the issues people want dealt with," Ryan said.