Possible Plan to Push Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill Would Have First Vote Monday
by Steven Ertelt
March 11, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Congressional Democrats have spent weeks trying to figure out how to get a pro-abortion health care bill through the House and Senate. A potential plan to do that would have a House committee voting as soon as Monday on a companion bill to accompany the Senate legislation.
Under the possible plan, as pro-life Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin spells out in an interview with American Spectator, the companion bill helps get the Senate measure through.
The Senate bill contains non-abortion provisions that Democrats must change in order to get enough votes for it in the House.
To do that, Democrats would craft a "shell" bill that will go to the House Budget Committee and be approved as soon as late Monday. The House Rules Committee will then take the bill and add a Rule for debate to it that disallows any amendments from Republicans or pro-life Democrats to fix the abortion funding and other pro-abortion problems with the bill.
The Rules Committee would also strip out any language in the shell bill and add the non-abortion changes to it designed to win enough votes to get it and the pro-abortion Senate measure passed on the House floor.
The Senate would then the "shell" bill and its changes through the reconciliation process, even though the Senate parliamentarian ruled reconciliation isn’t in order. With the Senate measure already passed, the "shell" bill would likely qualify for reconciliation and be able to receive a majority vote instead of coming under the filibuster Republicans have used.
"They don’t have the votes right now, but they’re creating the vehicle so that they can airdrop in whatever changes they want," Ryan told the American Spectator.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and one of her top lieutenants today said they have the votes and they think Rep. Bart Stupak is overestimating the number of pro-life Democrats he can get to go along with him in voting no on the bills because of the abortion funding.
Explaining the divide, Matthew Continetti writes at the Weekly Standard that Pelosi doesn’t have the votes but hopes moving ahead with the "shell" reconciliation bill will get them for her.
"Nancy Pelosi does not have the 216 votes necessary to pass the Senate health care bill. She’s planning to go ahead without the votes of the Stupak 12," he writes.
"What’s going on? The final push for Obamacare is about to begin. It starts on Monday, when the House Budget Committee will insert reconciliation instructions into the November House health care bill," he says. "By late Monday / early Tuesday, Budget will pass this bill and send it to the House Rules Committee, where Pelosi will change the language so that it matches the Senate bill. This is the final compromise legislation that may come to a vote on the House floor within weeks."
"Why move ahead when the votes aren’t there? Pelosi hopes that launching the process will create enough momentum to flip Democrats her way," Continetti continues.
The Weekly Standard writer says Pelosi and Democrats must move quickly because if they don’t get it approved by the Easter recess, the pro-abortion health care bill will likely die.
Ryan also said the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling rules out the controversial Slauther Rule that political observers have been discussing in the last 24-48 hours.
He also urged pro-life advocates to not focus as much on reconciliation in the Senate but to keep their eyes on the House.
"Reconciliation is a distraction," he said. "Once the House passes the Senate bill we have the massive new entitlement."
Under the Senate health care bill that will be the main bill Obama and Democrats push through Congress, there is no ban on abortion funding. While some states can opt out of funding abortions under the plan, taxpayers in other states will be forced to pay for them.
But the bill contains other pro-abortion problems that are concerns for pro-life advocates.
The bill requires that at least one health care plan be promoted across the country that pays for abortions, more abortion funding would come via the affordability credits, and many of the so-called limits on abortion funding in the Senate bill are temporary and could expire or be overturned at a later date.
The Senate health care bill also pays for abortions under the Indian Health Service program.
And it contains the Mikulski amendment that would allow the Obama administration to define abortion as preventative care and force insurance plans to pay for abortions.
Finally, the Senate bill does not contain language needed to offer full conscience protection for pro-life medical workers and facilities.
The new Obama health care plan proposing final changes to the Senate bill so it can move through Congress corrects none of these problems outlined by leading pro-life groups as reasons for pro-life advocates to oppose the government-run health care bill.
And the changes Obama submitted for the Senate bill under reconciliation actually increases the potential abortion funding for Community Health Centers.
ACTION: Contact your House member at https://www.House.gov and urge a NO vote on the pro-abortion health care bills. Contact members of the Budget Committee at https://budget.house.gov and urge a no vote on the pro-abortion "shell" bill.
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