Bipartisan Lawmakers Sponsor Stupak Amdt to Cut Abortion Funds in Senate Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bipartisan Lawmakers Sponsor Stupak Amdt to Cut Abortion Funds in Senate Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 1
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Sen. Ben Nelson, a pro-life Democrat from Nebraska, confirmed today that he is working on an amendment to the Senate version of the government-run health care bill that would remove abortion funding from it. He said the amendment would be similar to language adopted in the House.

Nelson is joined by Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, for a bipartisan amendment they hope will attract more of their colleagues.

During the House debate on the health care bill, lawmakers adopted the Stupak amendment on a strongly bipartisan vote.

That amendment removed the abortion funding found in the government-run public option and the affordability credits — both of which are contained in the bill Senate leader Harry Reid proposed.

Nelson said today he plans to offer an amendment that is virtually identical to the Stupak amendment in the House, saying the only difference is in what is changed in the differently-worded bills but adding that the thrust is the same.

"I’m working on an abortion amendment," Nelson told reporters, according to Politico. "It’s as identical to Stupak as it can be."

Nelson said he is working on the amendment with other senators but declined to name any lawmakers who are supporting his effort, adding that "perhaps" other Democrats are involved.

"The only thing I’m talking about is the Stupak plan, which is referred to as an abortion issue but I think the president was right when he said this bill’s not about abortion. It’s about how you account for federal dollars to stay consistent with Hyde and the long-term federal policy of not using tax dollars or federal monies to fund abortions," Nelson said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Casey, the other Democrat in the Senate who calls himself pro-life, also said today he is working to broker a deal on abortion funding.

According to a report in The Hill, he warned colleagues not to adopt a position on abortion funding yet.

"It’s ongoing," he said. "’Ongoing’ is probably the best word."

"I’ve tried not to draw any lines, and I would hope none would either," he said, adding that he has been in touch with Reid about abortion funding.

Hatch had already indicated his plans to offer his amendment to stop abortion funding that two Senate committees rejected. Workign with Nelson, the new effort comes in the same biparisan spirit that guided Democrat bart Stupak and Republican Joe Pitts, the two main sponsors of the House amendment.

Regardless of who proposes the ultimate amendment, or if more than one authentic amendment to strike the abortion funding is proposed, pro-life lawmakers are unlikely to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster by abortion advocates.

The amendment will likely have the support of most Republicans, except Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and the backing of just a handful of Democrats.

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