Sunday Vote Eyed on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, Democrats Still Lack Votes

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 18, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Sunday Vote Eyed on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, Democrats Still Lack Votes

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 18
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Democrats still lack enough votes to pass the pro-abortion health care bill but they are eyeing a vote on Sunday. Meanwhile, some Democratic lawmakers are still announcing positions one way or the other and House Republicans say they will continue doing everything possible to block the bill.

Democratic leaders had been waiting for a Congressional Budget Office announcing the financial impact of the government-run health care bill before finalizing plans to proceed.

They received the report today saying the measure will cost just under $1 trillion.

Happy about those numbers, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he expected the House to vote on Sunday.

First, the House Rules Committee will meet on Saturday to consider passing the Slaughter Rule — the controversial procedural motion allowing the House to "deem" the pro-abortion health care bill passed without actually taking a vote on it.

But Republicans in the House and Senate promised to try to kill the bill in the House and cause enough disruption in the Senate to make House Democrats rethink passing the bill.

House Republican leader John Boehner said, “I’ve always believed we could beat this thing."

“It’s not too late,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell added. “All we need is enough Democrats in the House of Representatives to do the right thing for the American people.”

"Our initial goal is to stop the bill in the House,” added Sen. John Cornyn, a pro-life Texas Republican, at a press conference after House and Senate Republicans held a strategy meeting. “Part of convincing House members to vote for the Senate bill is that it can be fixed by reconciliation, and I think that is a highly questionable proposition.”

The big emphasis is on stopping the bill in the House, another pro-life lawmaker said.

“If it gets here, it will pass,” said Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. “It only requires 50 votes plus the vice president, so that is an easy hurdle for them.”

Meanwhile, Democrats continue moving back and forth on how they will vote on the bill, that is unanimously opposed by pro-life groups.

Rep. Michael Arcuri of New York, a member of the rules panel, said today he will flip from voting yes on the House version of the bill in November to voting no this weekend.

He becomes the third official member, along with Reps. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), to make the switch — although another 12 pro-life Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak are expected to vote no as well after voting yes on the bill last time.

But Rep. Charlie Wilson of Ohio, another pro-life Democrat, is talking as if he plans to vote for the bill. He voted for the House bill so that doesn’t change the 216 Pelosi still needs to pass the bill.

Wilson is scheduled to participate today in a conference call with "pro-life religious leaders" who are actually members of liberal religious groups that are putting health care above opposition to forcing taxpayers to fund abortions.

Wilson’s office sent out the group’s release noting Wilson’s presence and that is concerning pro-life groups.

On a conference call today, according to conservative writer Matt Lewis, pro-life Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a respected Republican, said Pelosi is still 5-7 votes short of what she needs and confirmed pro-life Democrats still strongly oppose the bill.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich switched from no to yes on Wednesday after intense lobbying from President Barack Obama. Later, Rep. James Oberstar and Rep. Dale Kildee, both pro-life Democrats, switched as well.

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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