Stupak says that 12 congressmen who voted for government health care takeover will vote against it with Senate abortion funding
The Senate's healthcare bill would lose 12 Democratic votes in the House, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said Wednesday.
Stupak, the sponsor of an amendment to the House healthcare bill which barred federal subsidies for health plans covering abortion, said that 12 lawmakers who had previously supported healthcare reform legislation in the House.
"It's accurate to say there are at least 12 of us who voted for healthcare that have indicated to the speaker and others that unless you change this language, we will vote against it," Stupak said during an appearance on MSNBC.
Stupak and other Democrats who oppose abortion-rights have threatened to fell the healthcare effort before Congress over the issue of abortion. They say the Senate's provision, which had been demanded by centrist Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), does not go far enough in preventing federal money from going to support abortion.
The congressman's comments come on the heels of his claims last week, when he said he knows of 15-20 Democratic lawmakers who are witholding support for the bill because of "other problems." But it is not clear if or how many overlap between the two groups. . . .
UPDATE: Pelosi makes the health care debate about abortion.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi got exasperated when asked at her weekly news conference about the unwillingness of some Democrats – including Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) – to support the health bill because of abortion language.
“Let me say this: This is not about abortion! This is a bill about providing quality, affordable health care for all Americans,” she said, more eager than ever to stay on message as her legacy becomes increasingly tied to what happens in the next few weeks.
The speaker had just talked about areas of disagreement between the House and Senate bills that are being worked on as leaders iron out legislative language for a comprehensive package that Congress can pass. But she omitted abortion.
“I will not have it turned into a debate on (abortion),” she said, when asked a follow-up question about Stupak. “Let me say it clearly: we all agree on the three following things. … One is there is no federal funding for abortion. That is the law of the land. It is not changed in this bill. There is no change in the access to abortion. No more or no less: It is abortion neutral in terms of access or diminution of access. And, third, we want to pass a health care bill.” . . .
UPDATE2: Stupak optimistic
Personally I don't see how they can reconcile the two positions. The Senate surely won't agree to a change. The question is really whether Stupak will stand his ground. He is facing huge pressure.
Earlier in the day, Stupak once again claimed that at least 11 fellow Democrats were planning to vote against the broader bill if the abortion language wasn’t change. But hours later, he expressed optimism that the two sides could work things out after a Thursday session with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), a principal author of the bill.
Later that day, Hoyer acknowledged that this issue could be make or break for the broader bill. He said party leaders have considered assembling a third bill that would incorporate changes, like a fix to abortion.
"I talked to Mr. Stupak today and I am going to be talking to him next week. And he indicated he wanted to have some discussions with people, and I will do that. So there are a number of different ways that can be addressed."