Pelosi: House Doesn’t Have Votes for Pro-Abortion Senate Health Care Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 21, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pelosi: House Doesn’t Have Votes for Pro-Abortion Senate Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 21
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Two days after voters in the liberal state of Massachusetts sent a message to Congress that even they don’t want the pro-abortion health care bill, the House and Senate bills appear unlikely to go anywhere. Though no official decision has been made, Democrats and Obama officials are looking at starting over.

The Senate had approved a bill that would force taxpayers to finance abortions and that measure was expected to be the basis of a merged bill.

That was before Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown defeated pro-abortion stalwart Martha Coakley in a special election in Massachusetts.

Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi concedes the bill is apparently dead.

"I don’t see the votes for it at this time," Pelosi told reporters during her weekly press conference. "The members have been very clear."

"We have to get a bill passed. We know that," Pelosi said, adding that "unease would be a gentle word" to describe House members’ attitude toward the Senate bill.

Pelosi said all options are on the table but did not say what she thought the strategy was for Obama and Democrats from here on a health care bill.

Unable to get members of the House to support the Senate bill — pro-life lawmakers don’t like the abortion funding and liberal lawmakers don’t like other provisions — President Barack Obama and top Democrats are beginning to concede they may have to start over.

Initial reports indicate they may move on to other political issues while they craft a smaller, less aggressive health care bill.

Any potential demise of the current pro-abortion, government-run health care bill doesn’t mean the pro-life community’s concerns are over. A new health care bill could still include taxpayer funding of abortion, rationing of health care or promotion of assisted suicide in end-of-life options counseling.

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, offered his thoughts on where the bill goes from here.

"While the leadership assesses the damage from Tuesday, its rank-and-file seems more concerned about what the party’s political miscalculations will mean for their job security," he says.

"Now that the leadership’s blank check has bounced, the $2.5 trillion question is how it will proceed," he continues.

"The Senate could switch to a reconciliation process that would only require 51 votes to pass the bill. Considering the country’s mood, that option could be too explosive for people on both sides of the aisle," he explains. "Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already promised a full retaliation if liberals try it."

"Democrats could heed the President’s advice and try to salvage some parts of the bill that would crack down on insurance companies, set cost controls, and modestly expand coverage. Or, my personal favorite, they could toss the current bills and start over with legitimate reform that includes a renewed focus on bipartisanship," Perkins said.

Sen. Robert Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, appeared to mirror the feelings of many who believe it is time to move on past the health care bill.

"I don’t think we have to wait for health care to be resolved one way or the other before we move [on to another issue]," he told AP.

And Rep. Jackie Speier, a pro-abortion California Democrat, reflected the feelings of those who oppose approving the Senate bill in the House when she said, "The Senate product is toxic."

While no decision has been made on how to proceed from here, Obama himself appears to be urging Democrats to craft a new bill.

"I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on," Obama told ABC News.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer agreed, according to AP, saying a new, smaller bill would be a "reasonable alternative."

"I think that we ought to focus on that which … the public can support," he said.

Although it appears the prospects for the current pro-abortion health care bill are dim, pro-life groups are not suggesting that pro-life advocates stop contacting elected officials opposing it.

Privately, they tell that opposition must remain in place because any new health care bill could easily fund abortions and require just as much opposition — if not more — because it would be designed to secure enough votes to receive congressional approval.

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