White House Joins Pelosi, Reid in Supporting Reconciliation on Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
February 22, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Obama administration has joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid in pushing to use the controversial reconciliation tactic to railroad the pro-abortion Senate health care bill through Congress by refusing to allow opponents to filibuster the bill.
In the course of unveiling the changes President Barack Obama believes should be made to the Senate bill — none of which stop the massive abortion funding in it — White House officials announced support for reconciliation.
The President expects and believes the American people deserve an up or down vote on health reform, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said in a conference call with reporters. This package is designed to provide us the flexibility to achieve that if the Republicans decide to filibuster.
Several news sources indicate Pfeiffer said that if Republicans continue to filibuster the health care bill, Obama and his pro-abortion Democratic allies will move forward with reconciliation.
He said Obamas proposal is designed to have maximum flexibility to ensure that we can get an up or down vote if the opposition decides to take the extraordinary step of filibustering health reform.
The new Obama plan comes days before a scheduled White House health care summit, which Republicans and pro-life advocates are viewing as a publicity stunt designed to show an appearance of bipartisanship and to sell the pro-abortion health care bill to the media and the public.
"We view this as the opening bid for the health meeting" on Thursday, Pfeiffer said. "We took our best shot at bridging the differences" between the House and Senate bills.
Republican leaders have indicated they will attend the meeting but they want the pro-abortion bill scrapped and to start over on reforming health care.
"Nearly one year ago, the president moderated a health care summit that kicked off a national debate that has led us to where we are today: a partisan bill devoid of support from the American people and a diminished faith in this government’s capacity to listen," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said today, according to CNN. "Let’s not make the same mistake twice."
Late Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised Democrats will attempt to railroad the pro-abortion health care bill through Congress.
Reid said during an appearance Friday evening on "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" in Nevada that the vote on the bill will come within the next two months.
"I’ve had many conversations this week with the president, his chief of staff, and Speaker Pelosi," he said. "And we’re really trying to move forward on this."
"We’ll do a relatively small bill to take care of what we’ve already done," Reid said, "We’re going to have that done in the next 60 days."
Under the reconciliation process, the House would approve the Senate bill and the House and Senate would both approve a second bill that makes changes to the Senate legislation to make it more palatable for House Democrats to support. However, those changes will not include stopping abortion funding or the promotion of abortion in other ways.
The decision essentially allows Democrats to pass the pro-abortion health care bill on their own without any Republican support.
The question now is whether both chambers will be able to get the votes they need to ram the pro-abortion health care bill through the House and Senate.
A top Democratic Senate aide told the New York Times this weekend that even getting 51 votes may be difficult.
If we took a vote now, we would not have 51 votes for that approach, the aide said. The president would have to do a major sales job. He is the only person who has the political capital to do it. But his focusing on health care means that our efforts to focus on jobs are likely to be drowned out.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said today that he thinks Democrats will join Republicans in opposing the reconciliation tactic but he’s not sure if enough will abandon the pro-abortion leadership.
"There’ll be a lot of Democrats who will vote against it," McConnell said on Fox news Sunday. "Whether there will be 11 Democrats who will vote against it [in the Senate] is not clear."
"The only thing bipartisan about it would be the opposition to this, because a number of Democrats have said don’t do this, this is not the way to go," McConnell said.
Some Democratic senators have said in the past they would oppose reconciliation, but whether they will do so when the vote comes is another question.
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