Senate Dems May Pass Pro-Abortion Health Bill "By Any Means Necessary"

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Dems May Pass Pro-Abortion Health Bill "By Any Means Necessary"

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 20
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Senate democrats have a new plan on how they can pass a health care restructuring bill that will result in abortion funding and coverage. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says they will approve the legislation "by any legislative means necessary."

Apparently unable to get enough votes to approve the government-run health care plan on its own, Senate Democrats say they will split up the legislation into two parts.

The first, less controversial portion consisting of policy changes in the insurance market, would be an effort to get moderate Democrats and Republicans to support the measure.

The section part, with the skyrocketing funding for the government-run plan, would be approved with the expectation that the vote will come along narrow party lines with Democratic defections.

They hope the plan to split the bill would result in Congress approving the legislation by the end of the year, which President Barack Obama is seeking.

The plan is a fallback in case members of the Finance Committee, who are pushing ahead with talks on a bipartisan bill, fail to meet that objective. That a compromise bill will come together that will attract the support of moderate Democrats and any Republicans appears unlikely.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans and pro-life advocates have been concerned about the use of a parliamentary tactic called reconciliation that can be used to prevent dissenters from using a filibuster to hold up controversial legislation.

A filibuster requires 60 votes to stop whereas most bills are approved on a 51-vote majority.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is the key decision-maker on whether to use the tactic, but several congressional aides say the option is a very real one.

"We will not make a decision to pursue reconciliation until we have exhausted efforts to produce a bipartisan bill," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid, told the Wall St. Journal. "However, patience is not unlimited, and we are determined to get something done this year by any legislative means necessary."

"It is fair to say the White House and the Senate Democratic leadership still prefer a bipartisan bill, and neither the White House nor us has made any decision to pursue reconciliation yet," he added.

"It’s fair to say the steam is going out of these bipartisan negotiations," the Democratic aide said.

The White House and congressional Democrats are expected to wait until at least mid-September before deciding to abandon the bipartisan Senate Finance Committee talks.

But, with the bipartisan talks failing, Senate Democrats will have to try the split bill strategy or railroad the legislation through the Senate with the reconciliation measure and run the risk of alienating pro-life voters even further.

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