Obama Meets With Democrats to Map Strategy for Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
January 5, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama met with top Congressional Democrats today to iron out the strategy to merge the House and Senate health care bills and get a final measure approved. Meanwhile, the White House defended a plan to merge the bills behind closed doors instead of an open conference committee process.
Obama met with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in the Oval Office and with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin joining via telephone.
Although they did not share the details of the meeting, Obama and top Democrats are expected to use informal, back-room negotiations to get a final bill without using the conference committee process.
That’s because the process opens up the pro-abortion health care bill to more filibuster attempts in the Senate that could see the defeat of the legislation or postponing it long enough that it can’t be approved.
The process has come under fire from Republicans and pro-life advocates and even CSPAN got involved in the debate by sending a letter asking to cover the conference committee.
As a candidate, Obama pledged during a presidential debate in January 2008 that he would be "bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are."
Pelosi had little to say in a press conference after the meeting but appeared to throw a jab at the president afterwards about the openness of the process.
Referring to one of Obama’s campaign pledges, a reporter asked Pelosi whether C-SPAN cameras would be allowed to film the House-Senate negotiations.
"There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail," said a bemused Pelosi.
But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs defended the process saying the media is full of details about the bills.
"I don’t think there’s anybody that would say that we haven’t had a thorough, robust, now-spanning-two-calendar-years debate on health care," he told reporters in his press briefing.
Gibbs said Obama’s top priority is "getting the differences worked out, getting a bill to the House and the Senate."
The top priority for pro-life advocates is getting abortion funding out of the bill or killing the bill outright if that doesn’t happen and they will be relying on Rep. Bart Stupak to lead a small band of pro-life Democrats to accomplish that task.
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