Democrats Don’t Have Votes Yet for Pro-Abortion Health Care, Could Slip to Easter

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 16, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats Don’t Have Votes Yet for Pro-Abortion Health Care, Could Slip to Easter

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 16
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Top Democrats acknowledged today that they do not have the 216 votes necessary to get the pro-abortion Senate health care bill approved in the House later this week. Although they are furiously twisting arms to get to the magic number, they may push the vote back to next week or the week following.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn admitted today that the vote could be pushed back as late as Easter and that a vote could occur before the April 4th holiday weekend.

"The chances are good, but I wouldn’t bet on it," he told McClatchy newspapers, about whether the House would hold a vote before Easter.

"I need 216 votes to pass this bill," Clyburn said. "I think I’m going to get 216 votes. It could be closer than last time. All I want is 216 votes."

Clyburn tried to put a good face on the situation by naming Democrats who voted no on the House version of the bill who say they will support the Senate measure: Reps. Brian Baird of Washington state, Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Bart Gordon of Tennessee and John Boccieri of Ohio.

"That’s four people right there who voted no before," Clyburn told McClatchy. "Why don’t we talk about them? Everyone’s talking about who we might lose."

But, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer disputed his lieutenant’s comments and said he thinks a vote will take place this week.

“The expectation is we will do health care reform later in the week,” Hoyer said, but would not say if Democrats have enough votes.

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to target Democrats they hope will vote no.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a speech on the Senate floor this morning, pressed Democrats to buck their party leadership and oppose the pro-abortion measure.

"It’s time for rank-and-file Democrats to pull the fire alarm and save the American people from this latest scheme and this unpopular bill," McConnell said.

And House Minority Leader John Boehner called on Americans to “rise up” against Obama’s health care bill.

"The American people have to rise up and make it clear to their Congress that they want no part of this,” said Boehner at a press conference this morning to unveil a new ad that will air during the NCAA college basketball tournament.

"Anybody who thinks they can sneak this bill through, deem it, all these other tricks, there’s no way to hide from the biggest vote that most members of Congress will ever cast,” Boehner said.

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.

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