Democrats: We Have Votes for Health Care Bill Without Fixing Abortion Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 11, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats: We Have Votes for Health Care Bill Without Fixing Abortion Funding

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 11
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Top House Democrats who are intimately involved in the discussions over the Senate health care bill and its provisions funding and promoting abortion claims Democrats have enough votes in the House to pass the Senate bill without changing the pro-abortion language.

"We have a pretty good idea of where we are going," House Speker Nancy Pelosi said after a morning meeting with the entire Democratic caucus.

"We have to, member-by-member, address the concerns that they raise," Pelosi said. "We have enough to move forward."

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said today that Democratic leaders are attempting to secure 216 votes for the Senate bill without doing anything to alter the abortion funding.

According to an AP report, Waxman now says "many of the pro-life members are going to support passage of the health care bill."

His comments come as two of the top pro-life Democrats sounded pessimistic tones about their ability to alter the abortion funding in the bill either through reconciliation or a sidebar bill.

On his way to a meeting with the House Democratic caucus, top pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak was asked if he would fight for a guarantee of no abortion funding.

“There is no guarantees in this town,” Stupak said, according to the Daily Caller.

“We continue discussions,” he said. “I can’t predict if it’s going to be worked out.”

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat who is one of the Stupak dozen — pro-life Democrats who voted for the House bill but are leaning towards opposing the Senate because of its abortion funding — was even less optimistic.

According to the Daily Caller, he said he didn’t think abortion funding could be fixed during reconciliation and there is no guarantee a sidebar bill would pass because the Senate already defeated an amendment to ban abortion funding in the health care bill.

Asked if a guarantee that Congress would hold an annual vote on abortion funding would suffice for Stupak, him and his colleagues to vote for the Senate bill, he said no.

What is a guarantee is that Stupak and his colleagues will fight to stop abortion funding.

"There are some principals worth fighting for, and this is one of them," Stupak said on Fox News today.

But Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Democrat and co-chairwoman of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, doubts Stupak has the votes.

"They are not solid votes," she said.

Meanwhile, Michael Barone of the Wall St. Journal doesn’t think Pelosi, Waxman and company will be able to get enough votes in the House.

"Are there enough votes in the House to pass the Senate’s health-care bill? As of today, it’s clear there aren’t," he writes in a Thursday morning column. "Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indeed shown mastery at amassing majorities. But it’s hard to see how she’ll do so on this one. The arithmetic as I see it doesn’t add up."

"The House passed its version of the health bill in November by 220-215. Of those 220, one was a Republican who now is a no. One Democrat who voted yes has died, two Democrats who voted yes have resigned, and one Democrat who voted no has resigned as well. So if everyone but the Republican votes the way they did four months ago, the score would be 216-215," he continues.

The Stupak dozen potentially deprives Pelosi of anywhere from 6-12 votes depending on how many of them stay firm on opposing the Senate bill.

"Pelosi may have some votes in reserve—members who would have voted yes if she needed them in November and would do so again. But we can be pretty sure she doesn’t have more than 10, or she wouldn’t have allowed the Stupak amendment to come forward at the last minute the first time. She also might get one or two votes from members who voted no and later announced they were retiring," Barone says.

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