Harry Reid Could Use Manager’s Amendment for Phony Abortion Funding Ban
by Steven Ertelt
December 9, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Now that the Senate has defeated the Nelson amendment, an authentic attempt to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions in the government-run health care bill, pro-life advocates are concerned that Senate leader Harry Reid could use a manager’s amendment to insert phony language.
The amendment could also see authentic language included with the intent of removing it later in the legislative process.
Reid will likely sponsor a manager’s amendment at the end of the debate on the bill that would make several changes to it — including watering down the public option so he can get 60 votes to pass the pro-abortion legislation.
Reid will likely use the amendment as a way to get the much-needed vote of Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the sponsor of the amendment to stop the abortion funding.
Nelson has said repeatedly he will filibuster the final bill if it keeps abortion funding, but Reid could insert phony language that placates Nelson enough without truly prohibiting the funding of hundreds of thousands of abortions.
Reid talked vaguely about that potential after the vote.
"If in fact he doesn’t succeed here, we’ll try something else," Reid said of Nelson before the vote. I’m happy to continue working with Sen. Nelson with the issue that is now on the floor.
Nelson said he still hopes there is a way to ban the abortion funding, but appeared to indicate he wasn’t sure what kind of language would do that short of his amendment.
"I had no Plan B," Nelson said. "Maybe somebody else has a Plan B, but I don’t see that this is one where theres really any room for compromise."
Republican Senator Tom Coburn, a pro-life Oklahoma legislator, has already said he fears the manager’s amendment will be used to get the votes of Nelson and other lawmakers who may potentially vote against the bill.
He went as far as saying he thinks the Nelson amendment, (named as the Stupak amendment in the House) could appear in the bill to placate Nelson — only to see it removed during conference committee.
"My suspicion is that when we see a manager’s amendment, the Stupak language will be in there. They’re going to allow a cover votethat’s why they want to hurry up with this vote to allow a cover vote so everyone can state their positions and then say, ‘Well, I couldn’t control the manager’s amendment,’" he said.
The conference committee "switcharoo" has been a concern for pro-life groups during the course of the Senate debate.
Should Reid include the Nelson/Stupak language and then have the conference committee remove it, pro-life groups will be pushing the House and Senate to vote against the final bill.
Rep. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who sponsored the anti-funding amendment in the House, has said he and a couple dozen Democrats will vote no on the bill if his amendment is pulled from it.
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