Barack Obama to Offer Defense Wednesday of Pro-Abortion Reconciliation Move
by Steven Ertelt
March 2, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama is expected to offer a defense on Wednesday of the use of the controversial reconciliation process to railroad the pro-abortion health care bill thorough Congress. Obama will also offer another set of changes to the Senate health care bill that currently funds abortions.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obama announcement, expected tomorrow, would cover both process and policy on the pro-abortion bill.
While Obama has talked up reconciliation in the past, Gibbs and other top Obama administration officials have been hinting that Obama would officially endorse the process following last week’s White House health care summit.
The summit saw the top Republican in the House inform Obama that Americans don’t want taxpayer funding of abortions and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mislead participants by claiming the bill doesn’t fund abortions.
Under reconciliation, the House would pass the pro-abortion Senate version of the government-run health care bill. That bill, and another both chambers would approve with changes to the Senate bill other than dropping the abortion funding, would go to Obama for his signature.
Yesterday, Gibbs repeated the language Obama has used that doesn’t endorse reconciliation but appears to support it — saying, Obama believes an up-or-down vote is necessary."
What he discusses will point toward not just a policy, but a process moving forward, Gibbs said. I think you’ll have a good idea of how we would proceed.
Meanwhile, Pelosi said in Denver on Monday that Obama will outline more changes to the Senate bill in the reconciliation bill designed to get more Democrats to vote for it because the House appears to not have enough.
"In a matter of days, we will have a proposal," Pelosi said, according to Fox News. "It will be a much smaller proposal than we had in the House bill, because that’s where we can gain consensus."
Also on Monday, Democrats have been discussing plans on pushing through the pro-abortion health care bill by their Easter recess.
Ben Smith, a Politico reporter, highlighted a Democratic memo he received with the timetable.
"Step one: The House passes the Senate’s health reform bill by March 19. The bill then goes to the president for signature without going through conference….After the Senate bill becomes law, the House then amends the Senate bill through a reconciliation bill, to be passed by March 21. That bill would be the only opportunity to amend, add or strike provisions in the Senate bill. Step three: The Senate begins debate on the reconciliation bill by March 23. Debate is limited to 30 hours. Votes begin March 26, the first day of Easter recess," it says.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, a pro-life Arizona Republican, talked about that timeline in an interview.
"This thing is losing support every day," Kyl said during an interview on Fox News. "And I think what they’ll try to do is move it up against the Easter recess so that the members won’t have time to go home and have a full recess period before they take the vote."
"If they run up to the vote and then have a recess, they go home, they’re going to get an earful from their constituents," Kyl said. "I don’t think they could pass it, then, when they got back from recess."
"So my guess is the Speaker is going to make them stay here and vote for it before they have a chance to go back home and talk to their constituents about it," the minority whip added.
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