Pelosi Wants House to OK Pro-Abortion Senate Health Care, Use Reconciliation
by Steven Ertelt
January 25, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Leading Democrats have settled on their next strategy for passing a pro-abortion health care bill. They plan to try to talk House members into approving the Senate’s pro-abortion health care bill with some changes and then having the Senate use the controversial reconciliation process.
Aides to top Democrats told the Associated Press late today that the plan is to pass the Senate bill, with some changes to it to appease House members.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants will present the plan to rank and file Democrats in party caucus meetings this week to see if the trial balloon will float. Pelosi already said the Senate bill doesn’t have the votes without changes, so the question will be wether any proposed changes are enough to accommodate them.
The Senate would have to approve the changes to the bill using the reconciliation produced normally reserved for budget items. The move would allow the Democratic majority to pass the change with 51 votes instead of needing 60 to pas the bill over a filibuster — which can’t be stopped now that Scott Brown of Massachusetts provides Republicans with the 41st vote.
Should Senate Democrats use the process to approve the bill, Senate Republicans have promised they would do everything possible to disrupt the chamber to prevent that or future legislation.
One change the House could consider is dropping the abortion funding provisions from the Senate bill, as Rep. Bart Stupak has a group of 10-12 pro-life Democrats who say they will vote no on any health care bill that funds abortions.
However, James R. Horney, a former Senate Democratic budget aide now with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, confirmed to AP that the abortion funding may not be able to be removed from the Senate bill because it is not the kind of financial measure that can be included in reconciliation.
As a result, the House would likely be voting on a revised Senate bill that would still fund abortions and have other concerns.
That leads National Right to Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson to tell LifeNews.com that House lawmakers who vote for the pro-abortion Senate bill would be voting for government funding of abortions.
"Any House member who votes for the Senate bill will be accountable for voting for federal subsidies for abortion insurance coverage for tens of millions of Americans, and for abortion insurance in a new program administered by the federal Office of Personnel Management, and for direct federal funding of abortion through Community Health Centers," he said.
"Enactment of the Senate health bill would be, by far, the most pro-abortion legislation ever passed by Congress," Johnson said.
Johnson told LifeNews.com that lawmakers who voted for the Stupak amendment but would vote for the pro-abortion Senate health care bill would be listed as supporting taxpayer funding of abortions.
He said "any House member who votes for the bill is voting for those policies, regardless of how he voted back in November on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment."
Abortion funding is not the only problem with the Senate bill, Johnson says — pointing to the Mikulski amendment.
"The bill also opens the door to federal mandates that could force all private health plans to cover abortions, even if they do not receive subsidies," he noted.
Other political issues could also cost Pelosi enough votes to get the Senate bill approved.
Related web sites:
NRLC letter on problems with Senate health care bill –
National Right to Life – https://www.NRLC.org
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