Democrats May Lack Reconciliation Votes to Push Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
February 17, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Congressional Democrats are looking at the reconciliation process as a means of railroading the pro-abortion health care bill through Congress. However, a look at the members of the party who may not support reconciliation finds Democrats can’t lose any more than two of 11 lawmakers who are on the fence.
The White House is convening a health care summit next week but Republicans say they don’t expect pro-abortion President Barack Obama and Democrats to start over on the pro-abortion health care bill.
Instead, political observers believe Democrats will try to use the reconciliation idea to have the House approve the Senate bill and a second bill approved by both chambers that makes changes to it.
That second bill, under terms of the process, would only need a 51-member majority vote instead of 60 to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. That means 50 votes and pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden breaking the tie.
A new article in Salon finds Senate Leader Harry Reid will need to put pressure on 11 Democrats to make sure they stick with the reconciliation process.
Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut is viewed as one of the most likely members to defect from the health care bill under reconciliation. Reid had to make changes to the bill to get his vote and there is little guaranteeing Lieberman will stick with it.
"As far as the reconciliation vote goes, he may as well be the 42nd Senate Republican," Salon notes.
Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was once against reconciliation but he was also once against funding abortions in the Senate bill, too, before changing his mind. He has recently indicated he may support reconciliation but with his numbers in the conservative state waning he may realize the need to save his own political future and vote no.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is facing a very difficult re-election bid who has already made it clear she will not support reconciliation. She said last month: "I am opposed to and will fight against any attempts to push through changes to the Senate health insurance reform legislation by using budget reconciliation tactics that would allow the Senate to pass a package of changes to our original bill with 51 votes."
Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana has called reconciliation "ill-advised" but the new lame duck now faces no pressure to not vote for it. But his reputation for wanting bipartisanship may make it so he doesn’t stick with the one-party rule.
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana said a few weeks ago, "I’m not for using reconciliation for healthcare — I’m just not," and with her tenuous standing in the state she may decide to protect her political hide and vote no.
Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia is a fan of the health care bill but he also loves Senate procedure and could oppose the process for that reason. Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas has been noncommittal but also faces the same political pressure from his place in a conservative state.
Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware has talked about using reconciliation but if a public option is included he may become a no vote. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia has been quiet on reconciliation but the former Republican may go against the hyper-partisan idea.
And Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska hails from a republican state and may sense a political opportunity to make good with conservatives there by voting no.
Ultimately, pro-life advocates will pull out all the stops to kill the reconciliation effort because it will likely not fix the massive abortion funding and other pro-abortion problems with the legislation.
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