Republicans Skeptical of Obama Summit for Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill

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

Republicans Skeptical of Obama Summit for Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 9
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Republicans in Congress are skeptical of the newly-announced health care summit, which they view as a televised lobbying campaign for the pro-abortion health care bill. Obama is says he is putting his best bipartisanship foot forward, but republicans want the current legislation thrown out.

Top Republicans raised the possibility late Monday that they may not participate in the summit, since they view it as a publicity stunt rather than an attempt a real health care reform.

In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor expressed their frustration that the Obama administration wants lawmakers at the summit to talk about the Senate health care bill that funds abortions and has other pro-abortion problems.

"If the starting point for this meeting is the job-killing bills the American people have already soundly rejected, Republicans would rightly be reluctant to participate," Boehner and Cantor wrote.

"’Bipartisanship’ is not writing proposals of your own behind closed doors, then unveiling them and demanding Republican support," Boehner and Cantor wrote. "Bipartisan ends require bipartisan means."

The letter also called on the Obama administration to ask the Senate to reject the idea of using the controversial reconciliation process to railroad a pro-abortion health care bill through the Senate without filibuster rights.

According to the Washington Post, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs responded by saying Obama wanted bipartisanship since last year but appeared not to give up any ground on supporting the current bill.

"He’s been very clear about his support for the House and Senate bills," Gibbs said.

John Feehery, a Republican consultant and former congressional aide, was a little more aggressive in his analysis.

"This is a clever tactic by the president to try to put the Republicans on the defensive," he told Fox News. "There’s a vast ideological gulf," on the current bills.

The battle over the health care summit comes as Obama and Democrats in Congress lost another vote for the pro-abortion healthcare bill in the House.

Rep. Jack Murtha, a pro-life Democrat who supported the House bill because it contained the Stupak amendment neutralizing abortion funding, passed away this week. He may have voted no if the House considered the Senate bill, because it does not have language banning abortion funding.

With Murtha’s death, the Cook Political Report has now moved his Pennsylvania district to the "toss up" category.

Philip Klein of the conservative America Spectator notes that a special election will likely be held in May and that a Republican victory would give opponents another firm vote against the bill.

Meanwhile, he points out that Hawaii Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie plans to resign from the House later this month to pursue a run for governor and that will take away another vote for the bill.

"While there’s been talk that Pelosi had some votes in reserve the first time around, the point is that those members felt they needed to vote against the bill — and the political environment has deteriorated substantially for Democrats since then," Klein writes.

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