Obama to Visit Capitol Hill Saturday in Last Healthcare Push
March 20, 2010
(ChattahBox)—This weekend on Capitol Hill, lawmakers and their staffs will not be sleeping in late or enjoying the early spring weather with fragrant cherry blossoms about to emerge. No, the House of Representatives is in session, to work towards passage of historic legislation to reform our nation’s broken healthcare system. A final vote is scheduled for late in the day on Sunday. And it’s still not clear that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has all the needed 216 votes to ensure passage. To help the process along and issue a last-minute push to recalcitrant Democrats still wavering between a yes and no vote, President Obama plans to meet with the Democratic caucus, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Saturday.
Obama will deliver a final rallying call urging Democratic House members to vote yes on the healthcare reform bill. He also plans to participate in a pre-vote strategy session with House leaders
Crossing the goal line with the necessary votes won’t be easy. Republicans have pledged to do everything in their power to kill the bill. And Michele Bachmann (R-MN) plans to lead another group of loud anti-healthcare reform tea party protesters, together with the corporate lobbying group Americans for Prosperity, in a nearby Capitol Hill park on Saturday.
And there are a few remaining stubborn Democrats, such as Stephen Lynch (MA), Michael Arcuri (NY) and Peter DeFazio (OR) whom are threatening to vote no.
And of course, there is Bart Stupak from Michigan, who continues to falsely claim that the language in the Senate bill permits federal funding of abortions. Despite 59,000 Catholic nuns and pro-life lawmakers supporting the language in the bill, Stupak and about nine other Democratic House members continue to ignore reality and say that indirect federal subsidies go towards abortion services.
Yesterday, there were reports of a possible deal with Stupak’s group, involving an arcane procedural motion, called an enrollment corrections bill. Pelosi may possibly allow Stupak to have a vote on the bill, which may placate his group to secure their yes votes on the healthcare reform vote on Sunday.
Stupak has scheduled a press conference on Saturday 11: a.m., in which he will announce an abortion language compromise to secure his yes vote or he will continue to hold his entire party ransom.
It’s going to be a wild weekend, But if Pelosi and President Obama can pull this amazing feat off, an historic piece of legislation will be ready for Obama’s signature on Monday, before the budgetary fixes are applied in the Senate.