This piece at The Hill shows that the Dems are all over the place on the abortion dilemma – or maybe more like out to sea on it.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday that lawmakers could draft separate pieces of legislation with abortion language to earn the support of anti-abortion rights Democrats on healthcare reform legislation.
“Separate pieces of legislation could be passed that would relate to that,” Hoyer told reporters after a meeting with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) “That’s a possibility. I talked to Mr. Stupak today, and I’m going to be talking to him next week and he indicated he wanted to have some discussions with people. And I will do that.”
This makes absolutely zero sense. Stupak cannot pass via the reconciliation route because 1) the Senate had a chance to include his language last fall and rejected it 54-45 and 2) some NARAL lackey there would raise an objection that it’s not a budget issue and not applicable to reconciliation. And passing any sort of bill separate from that either will never get passed and signed, or else will get passed and signed and then overridden by the health care bill signed afterward.
He [Stupak] said yesterday that he has spoken to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about the prospects of a “sidebar” bill on abortion that would be tied to the final healthcare bill. It is unlikely that the abortion issue can be fixed through reconciliation because it does not directly relate to budget issues. Lawmakers have been trying to find other ways to work around the issue.
Pelosi confirms what I said above about abortion and reconciliation.
Pelosi twice this week said that abortion is not central to the healthcare bill, but Stupak has made it an issue in recent weeks.
He’s made it an issue in recent weeks? What is this reporter smoking? He’s made it an issue for months! And 25% of House Dems voted with him to pass his amendment. It’s not like he’s some nutcase lone wolf who came out of left field to raise this at the 11th hour.
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Calif.), chairwoman on the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus said Thursday that Stupak cannot marshal the votes to sink the bill, but Hoyer’s words show that Democratic leaders are at least taking the threat seriously.
Diana got off the official pro-abortion script as demonstrated by Pelosi, which is that the Senate bill provides zero federal funding of abortion and Stupak’s language forces millions of poor women into back alley coat hanger abortions. If she thinks that Stupak is acting alone, then she should be demanding that Pelosi schedule the House vote. and of course it also shows what a joke the current Senate bill is that the head of the “Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus” would ever support locking out federal funding of abortions.