House, Senate Still Far Apart on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, But It’s Coming

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 8, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

House, Senate Still Far Apart on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, But It’s Coming

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 8
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The House and Senate are still far apart on the pro-abortion health care bill, but one senator who met with President Barack Obama on Thursday says the legislation is coming. Democrats are fashioning the pro-abortion health care bill behind closed doors and will likely keep abortion-funding language.

Yesterday, Obama met with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Sen. Chris Dodd , who chairs the Senate HELP committee.

Both senators are pro-abortion and they both chaired committees that crafted government-run health care bills that Senate Leader Harry Reid eventually merged into one final pro-abortion bill, with Sen. Ben Nelson’s help.

After the meeting, Baucus said negotiations are moving forward on combining the Senate and House bills but that they have a lot of differences yet to work out.

"We are moving well," Baucus told reporters last night, according to Politico. "We’ve got a lot to cover. The bills are quite a bit different."

His comment came in stark contrast to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who insists the two chambers are "very close" to agreement.

Democrats want to get the bill finished and sent to Obama before his postponed State of the Union address set for early February. Baucus talked about the difficulty of meeting that deadline.

"We want to get this thing done quickly," Baucus said. "On the other hand, it is just a little early yet. Senators aren’t in town and the House is not in town this week … so it is a little hard to find people who are going to focus."

He said that goal was still "attainable" and "desirable" but would not say if Obama pushed him and Dodd to meet it.

Yesterday, reported that, when House and Senate Democrats meet behind closed doors to iron out the final abortion funding language in the government-run health care bill, one prominent senator says they will likely keep the Senate language that allows states to force taxpayers to fund abortions.

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey says in a new interview that the merged bill will contain the Nelson-Reid abortion funding language instead of the Stupak amendment.

While the Stupak amendment, which he House added to its legislation, prohibits abortion funding, the Nelson-Reid language does not.

Casey tells the Morning Call newspaper that the discussion over which language to use "will be part of the debate in the conference."

"I thought we made, individuals like me and a few others made a lot of progress taking us from where we were in the original base bill to where we are today. For some, it is not good enough for some, and it will be a continual source of debate," Casey said.

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