House Republican Leader Says Abortion Funding Could Defeat Health Care Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 6, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

House Republican Leader Says Abortion Funding Could Defeat Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 6
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The number two Republican in the House has unveiled a strategy memo saying he thinks the abortion funding in the Senate health care bill will ultimately derail the legislation. Democrats can’t afford to lose more than two votes in the House and he sees 37 lawmakers who could vote against the bill.

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor says he believes "there is an opportunity to prevent this bill from becoming law."

"In order to pass a final bill, Democrat leaders cannot lose a single vote of the 60 they gained in the Senate, nor more than two of the 220 votes they gained in the House. To get their bill to this point, Democrat leaders have made a series of contradictory commitments and deals, each of which has the possibility of derailing a final bill," he explains.

"On the issue of abortion funding, for example, Senate Democrats have indicated that they cannot agree to the House-passed language, which continues a long-standing prohibition of federal funding of abortions. Meanwhile, many pro-life House Democrats who voted for the final House bill because of the fixed abortion language have indicated that the Senate-passed language is insufficient," Cantor continued.

Cantor says his team has identified 37 Democrats who he believes can be persuaded to vote against a final health care agreement.

He says if the Stupak amendment, which appeared in the House bill and banned abortion funding, is not present in the final bill, he sees 11 Democrats who would almost assuredly vote no on the final legislation.

They would include Jerry Costello and Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, Kathleen Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, Marcy Kaptur and Steve Driehaus of Ohio, Dale Kildee and Bart Stupak of Michigan, Jim Oberstar of Minnesota and Charlie Wilson of Texas.

Cantor says their votes "would be in play" if the final measure funds abortions the way the Senate bill does.

"Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid can no longer promise to address a wavering Member’s concerns later in the process. They can no longer make contradictory promises to different Members. And because of the work of the American people, they have hardly any margin for error in keeping 218 House votes and 60 Senate votes in lock-step," he says.

"By convincing just three House Members to switch their position and oppose this bill, we can halt this government take-over of our health care system," he concludes.

Conservative writer Ed Morrissey of HotAir says Cantor makes good points and he also believe the Senate could still stop the bill.

"The Senate will have to get at least two cloture votes for every ping-pong attempt that comes to the upper chamber, and any changes in a wildly-unpopular bill will undermine it," he says.

He also says the Senate could see a vote-changer or two.

"Nelson isn’t likely to vote against cloture to defend the subsidies he says he never requested, but he’s under so much heat at home that any change may give him enough political cover to torpedo the bill on final-vote cloture," Morrissey writes. "And he may not be alone. With Dems retiring at a rapid pace, red-state Democrats like Blanche Lincoln and even Evan Bayh may have seen enough of ObamaCare."

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