Stupak Close to Abortion Deal With House Leaders
March 9, 2010
(ChattahBox)— Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) a Roman Catholic conservative, anti-abortion lawmaker who is poised to derail healthcare reform in the House, unless his demands are met, may be relenting from his original extreme stance. The Associated Press reported yesterday that Stupak and House Democrats were close to reaching an accommodation on abortion language, included in the final healthcare reform bill. “I’m more optimistic than I was a week ago,” said Stupak.
The language in the Senate’s version of healthcare reform contains strict language that satisfied anti-abortion lawmaker Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and other conservatives in the upper chamber, but Stupak declared that the language didn’t go far enough, to ensure that no indirect federal subsidies would go towards funding abortion procedures. The Hyde Amendment, as noted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), is the law of the land and restricts federal funds being used to pay for abortions. But in recent days, Stupak has taken to the airwaves mischaracterizing the language of the Senate Bill, claiming that it didn’t satisfy the Hyde Amendment.
“The president says he doesn’t want to expand or restrict current law (on abortion). Neither do I,” Stupak said. “That’s never been our position. So is there some language that we can agree on that hits both points — we don’t restrict, we don’t expand abortion rights? I think we can get there.”
Stupak claims that he has a block of 12 like-minded Democratic House members in his pocket, willing to vote to derail healthcare reform over the abortion language. But it now appears a compromise can be reached.
“Anti-abortion lawmakers last summer urged House leaders to keep abortion out of the health debate “because it’s too divisive,” Stupak said. “So what did they do? They injected it into the debate. Everyone thinks I did; I did not.”‘
House leaders hope to pass the Senate bill as is and then enact minor budgetary fixes to the bill in the Senate through he reconciliation process.