Senate Democrats Favor Health Care Reconciliation, House Cool Due to Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 24, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democrats Favor Health Care Reconciliation, House Cool Due to Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 24
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Leading Democrats in the House and Senate appear bent on pushing through the pro-abortion health care bill via reconciliation, but one chamber appears more likely to support the bill than the other. Senate Democrats are warming up to the idea but there may not be enough votes to move the bill in the House.

As many as 11-13 Democrats have expressed some reluctance to support the controversial reconciliation process in the Senate.

But if new comments are any indication, that is changing.

“Obviously, if the minority is just frustrating the process, that argues for taking steps to get the public’s business done,” said Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, according to Politico. He was formerly one of the top Democrats opposing the idea. “At the same time … Republicans would probably shut the place down, but you could argue they are doing that anyway."

And Sen. Mary Landrieu, who faces a tough re-election battle in Louisiana, also appeared more open to railroading the pro-abortion health care bill through the Senate.

“I’m staying open to see how these negotiations go forward,” Landrieu said, according to Politico. “I’ve not generally been a big supporter, but the Republican Party, the leadership, has really been very, very, very disingenuous in this process.”

And Sen. Ben Nelson has opposed reconciliation in the past but now says it may be the only way to get the bill approved.

“I’d like to see as many votes as possible,” he said. “But at the end of the day, with the obstructionism going on at the level that it is, I’m more interested in what’s in the package than I am in the process of how many votes it takes to get it through.”

Those remarks have a much sunnier disposition than those coming from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who expressed much more skepticism.

"We may not be able to do all. I hope we can do all," he said of pushing the health care bill through the House. "But having said that, if we can’t, then you know me – if you can’t do a whole, doing part is also good. I mean there are a number of things I think we can agree on."

Rep. Jason Altmire, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said, according to AP, he is very skeptical about whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can come up with enough votes to pass the bill.

"Is she going to be able to hold everybody that was for it before?" Altmire asked. "What about the marginal members in the middle who got hammered over this vote and would love a second chance to perhaps go against it?"

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, a pro-life Virginia Republican known for his ability to count votes, says he doesn’t think Pelosi can pull it off in the House.

“House Democrats are farther away from securing the votes to pass a government health care bill today than they have ever been,” he said in a widely-circulated memo received Wednesday morning.

He says Pelosi “will not be able to muster the votes needed to pass a Senate reconciliation bill in the House.”

Cantor estimates Democrats will only attract 202 votes out of the 255-member Democratic caucus, 15 votes below the 217-vote threshold needed to pass the pro-abortion health care bill.

He says abortion funding is directly responsible for a large number of Democrats who will vote against the bill and Rep. Bart Stupak, the de facto leader of the pro-life Democrats, agrees.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.