Democrats Take Issue With March 18 Date for Pro-Abortion Health Care Vote

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 10, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats Take Issue With March 18 Date for Pro-Abortion Health Care Vote

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 10
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — A dustup took place yesterday on Capitol Hill as a top Democratic leader took issue with President Barack Obama’s spokesman over the projected date for the House vote on the Senate health care bill. Now, more Democrats are revolting against what they see as a White House mandate for a vote date.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad told reporters yesterday, "I’ve said for years, any talk of deadlines is an absolute waste of time…Deadlines just don’t work, because you have so much that is out of your control."

Sen. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus also complained.

"We all agreed, all of us in the room agreed we have to move as expeditiously as we can, but there are a lot of hoops, a lot of hurdles, a lot of matters we have to deal with. But we all want to do it together," Baucus told reporters as he left a Tuesday meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"We all want to work as quickly as we can without setting a deadline," Baucus added.

And House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman told The Hill that Democrats told the White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to back down.

"He was certainly informed that we don’t feel we want any deadlines assigned to us," he said.

Two top Democratic aides told Fox News they are upset by the artificial vote dates and deadlines from the White House on a bill that likely lacks the votes in the House to get approved.

“Congressional Democrats have come to see such markers as more of a problem than a motivator, but the White House hasn’t seemed to digest that,” one aide said.

Another Senate Democratic leadership aide added, "The message to Rahm was clear and simple: Stop."

As reported, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs initially postulated the March 18 vote.

"We’re leaving on March 18 and we believe that we’re on schedule, based on our conversations with the Speaker and the majority leader, to get something done by then," Gibbs said last Thursday morning on MSNBC. "I think this is going to get done in the next couple of weeks."

But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer took issue with that.

"None of us has mentioned the 18th, other than Mr. Gibbs," Hoyer said. "We are trying to do this as soon as possible. That continues to be our objective."

Gibbs refused to back down, saying, “There seems to be a disconnect” between the White House and Democrats in Congress.

“The information I gave out last week was based on conversations I had with staff here in the building. … I’ve been given nothing that would change that advice that I was given last week," he added, according to Politico.

Republicans say any delay will make it easier to kill the pro-abortion health care bill.

“If the members of Congress go home for two weeks, they’ll hear from the American people what they really think about the bill,” GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander said Tuesday. “They’ll be less likely to vote for it when we come back.”

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