Democrats Scrambling for Votes for Pro-Abortion Senate Health Care Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 3, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats Scrambling for Votes for Pro-Abortion Senate Health Care Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 3
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Now that President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress have officially decided to use reconciliation to force the Senate pro-abortion health care bill through the House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi begins the task of finding enough votes for the bill to get it approved on a majority vote.

However, in part because of the massive abortion funding and other pro-abortion problems with the Senate bill, she my not get there.

The House could vote on the bill as early as March 19 and some Democrats who voted for the House version of the bill, which was approved on a very narrow margin, have already said they are either undecided on the bill or may vote no.

Rep. Bart Stupak, the respected pro-life Democrat, confirmed this week he will not vote for the Senate bill and as many as 10-12 pro-life Democrats who voted yes on the House bill may join him.

The House approved its bill 220-215 and the defection of Stupak and those 10-12 Democrats would be enough to defeat the measure. Add pro-life Republican Rep. Anh Cao of Louisiana, the only GOP lawmaker to back the House bill, to the mix and Pelosi is even further behind the eight ball.

Obama and top Democrats hope to sweeten the pot with the language in the reconciliation bill but Stupak told the Wall St. Journal that he and other Democrats won’t bite.

"We’re not going to walk the plank again just to see the Senate shut us down," he said.

“You’re going to make members vote for a bill that’s going to be hung around your neck come Election Day,” he said. “After sending so much legislation to the Senate, we just don’t trust that they’re going to do it.”

But today, Rep. Michael Arcuri, New York Democrat, told media outlets that he has changed his mind and is now firmly in the no column after voting yes before.

With no Republicans planning to vote for the Senate bill, Democrats have to hope for some votes from among the gains among the 39 House Democrats who voted against the bill last time — something House Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina told the Journal is a possibility.

"I think there could be more support than people realize," he said.

The Journal surveyed all House Democrats who voted against the House bill and found just a half dozen members who say they are undecided or leaning yes.

Republican leaders are confident Pelosi will not be able to get the votes to pass the bill.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, says he is confident 11 of the 40 Democrats who voted for the House bill and for the Stupak amendment are likely to vote no because of the abortion funding in the Senate measure.

One of the Democrats on Cantor’s list, Rep. Daniel Lipinski, told the Daily Caller Cantor is likely right.

“While I cannot speak for anyone else, I do believe there is a double-digit number of pro-life Democrats that I expect will not vote for any health-care reform bill that provides federal funding for abortion,” Lipinski said.

An aide to another pro-life Democrat agreed.

“This is an issue that morally there’s no compromise," the aide told the Daily Caller. “It appears the life issue is the central issue” to getting enough votes for passage of a health-care bill."

Pelosi has lost four of the votes votes she needs for the bill to resignations and changes in the makeup of the House and that leaves her with just 216 to start with to pass the bill — the number she needs to get it through.

The process also doesn’t take into account some liberal Democrats who voted yes for the bill and may vote against the Senate bill because it is not liberal enough.

Ultimately, with more members likely switching from yes to no than from no to yes, Pelosi has an uphill battle. But pro-life advocates will not yield any ground in trying to get as many votes against the bill as possible.

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