Democrats Still Considering Reconciliation to Force Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill

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

Democrats Still Considering Reconciliation to Force Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 21
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — With the election of Scott Brown complicating the numbers in the Senate, Democrats are reportedly re-examining the possibility of using the highly-controversial reconciliation process to railroad the pro-abortion health care bill through Congress.

Brown’s election victory made it so Democrats no longer have 60 votes to end a Senate filibuster and Nancy Pelosi announced today that the House doesn’t have the votes for the legislation.

Without any conventional Plan B to get the bill approved, it appears Democrats plan to hold a meeting just after the Roe v. Wade anniversary to determine if they could use the reconciliation budget process to get the bill approved.

Rep. Paul Ryan, a pro-life Republican from Wisconsin, talked with National Review about the latest development.

“They’re meeting with each other this weekend to pursue it,” says Ryan. “I’ve spoken with many Democrats and the message is this: They’re not ready to give up."

"They’ve waited their entire adult lives for this moment and they aren’t ready to let 100,000 pesky votes in Massachusetts get in the way of fulfilling their destiny. They’ll look at every option and spend the next four or five days figuring it out," he explained.

Reconciliation makes it so the minority does not have the filibuster as a tool to require anything other than a simple majority vote. The process is meant for situations when a fiscal bill is urgently needed for economic reasons and isn’t supposed to be used to force majority votes on typical legislation.

To start the process, Pelosi would need to bring a new health care bill to the House budget committee with reconciliation instructions, and Harry Reid would need to do the same in the Senate.

Or, the House could pass the pro-abortion Senate bill along with a guarantee from the Senate that it would use the reconciliation process to approve the House bill with changes.

“They’d have to go back to the beginning of the process,” says Ryan. “They’d need to affix reconciliation instructions to a new bill.”

“There’s nothing we can do to stop this from a technical standpoint, since all they need is a simple majority vote and our ratio on the committee is terrible. What [Republicans] can do on the budget committee is pass resolutions for the Rules committee to insist on certain changes in the bill and create a ‘vote-a-rama’ atmosphere," Ryan said about potential strategies to stop the bill or slow it down.

Some of those changes pro-life lawmakers could insist on are instructions to ensure the bill does not fund abortions, but abortion advocates have higher numbers on the committees and there is no guarantee abortion funding could be stopped.

Still, Ryan tells National Review he thinks it will be difficult for Democrats to win the battle because pro-life and moderate Democrats in the House may still vote no.

“There are Blue Dog Democrats out there who are more survivalist than ideologues. One or two switches could be a game changer," he said. "The question is whether Democrats will continue to follow Pelosi off the cliff. After Massachusetts, the Democrats are quickly realizing that even if the president comes in to stump, and you get all the union support you need, it’s still not enough to get you elected."

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