Senate Democrats: Reconciliation Still Possible Even With Health Care Summit

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 16, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democrats: Reconciliation Still Possible Even With Health Care Summit

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 16
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Senate Democrats are confirming comments last week from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a top aide and saying that the reconciliation idea to railroad the pro-abortion government-run health care bill through the Senate is on the table even with the upcoming White House health care summit.

They say there is no need to abandon the controversial idea even though Obama is engaging in a publicity campaign to try to find more support for the bill, which contains massive abortion funding.

The nationally televised summit is set for next Thursday, February 25, but pro-abortion Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, tells Roll Call there is no reason to cast aside the reconciliation idea.

“I think it should be constantly pursued,” he said when asked if Democrats should put aside the plan.

“I think the Republicans are pretty committed to the notion that obstructing everything that President Obama would like to accomplish is very key to their base and their political success,” Whitehouse added. “I don’t see them departing from that strategy.”

On the other hand, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told Roll Call that instead of a health care summit that most pro-life advocates and Republican lawmakers view as a publicity stunt, Obama and congressional Democrats should scrap the pro-abortion bill and start over.

“If he just wants to talk about the House-passed bill and the Senate-passed bill and that’s it, it’s going to be very difficult, I think, to get that conversation going,” Murkowski said. “When you extend an invitation for everybody to come and sit down and talk, let’s understand what it is that we’re talking about.”

Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware also told Roll Call reconciliation should be used.

“We should go forward with the president’s summit, and maybe that will help inform — if the summit doesn’t bear much fruit — maybe the conversation flowing from the summit would better inform what should be in a very narrow reconciliation provision," he said.

House Minority Leader John Boehner has said Republicans should insist on having the White House and Democrats take reconciliation off the table as a precursor to any guarantee to attend the summit.

But top pro-abortion Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa calls that "unreasonable."

For pro-life advocates, reconciliation would not likely take care of either the abortion funding or other pro-abortion concerns with the Senate health care bill.

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