This had to be done by Nancy Pelosi. The bill was drowning and this was the only way for a chance to save it. Apparently there are a fair amount of Catholic lawmakers in the party who actually (unlike Pelosi) take their religion seriously. I haven’t read the amendment in question but by allowing the vote it accomplishes two things.
If the Amendment passes then it’s supporters not only have an excuse to vote for the Bill and a political win to take back to their districts but it removes a key talking point against it.
If it fails then the Squish Catholics can say they they tried and give themselves that excuse to vote for the final version. Or they can argue that they can see if it is re-amended in conference and fall back on the “Oh I’ll vote against it then” business.
It also tangentially gives Harry (“Pro life”) Reid some cover in his re-election.
The question if it passes really becomes will Pro-Abortion legislators support the bill as amended? It is unlikely that they would not be a majority in the conference so they can try to strip it there
I suspect Pelosi’s ideal solution is the Amendment is voted on and fails, then she keeps the pro-abortion side while grabbing the squishes, that would likely be the Maximum amount of votes available.
On strictly a political basis it is a win for Pelosi and a smart move, it might not be a derisive win but she needed one badly.
It can not be overestimated how important this is in a religious sense. People don’t realize just how many Catholics in particular would vote democratic if they were not so stoutly in favor of Abortion. My parish priest for example is extremely liberal but extremely Catholic and (unlike many) the Catholic trumps the liberal.
On a simple moral basis removing Abortion funding improves the bill incredibly. It is also a big win for Catholic groups and Anti-abortion people in general. If a final bill has the endorsement of the Conference of Catholic Bishops over abortion then you can’t get a better imprimatur (religiously speaking) than that.
In terms of the bill itself, it changes very little. The bill will still be a disaster for health care both in America and the world. Forgetting that it would be run by the gang that can’t shoot straight, the costs, the death of private health care, the erosion of quality and the drop in the profit motive (the US is where the profit exists in healthcare, it that is gone then Europe and Canada can say goodbye to their cheap drugs) I believe it will also cause best and brightest to decide that the years and expense of a medical education are not worth it for the return.
That isn’t even talking about the budget busting aspect of this bill, none of that has changed.
My verdict: If the Amendment passes it means the bill will for now meet the “not funding murdering children” standard. That’s a pretty low hurdle. That raises the bill from “Evil” to “Absolutely Disastrous”. I’d have to say absolutely disastrous just doesn’t meet my threshold of support.
Will it pass, the odds are better than 24 hours ago. I would have said no yesterday, today I say perhaps.
Update: The American Papist is with me, and I agree with his advice:
Please continue to email and call (202-224-3121 ) your representatives to demand that they vote YES on the pro-life stupak amendment, and then vote NO on HR 3962.
Works for me.
Update 2: Politico says the pro-abortion congressmen and woman are going to play along:
Most Democratic advocates of abortion rights appear likely to swallow hard and vote for a health care overhaul even though it is likely to include an amendment that would effectively bar insurers that participate in a public exchange from providing most abortions, according to several lawmakers who attended a private meeting on the topic Saturday morning in the Capitol basement.
Asked whether her allies in the pro-choice movement would support the bill with the language offered yesterday by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered a one-word answer: “Yes.”
It may in fact simply be a tactical one:
But the lawmakers said they would work hard to whip the Stupak amendment in hopes of keeping it out of the final bill, and several said they weren’t ready to declare how they would vote if Stupak’s language made it in.
“We’re nor conceding that,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Blue NC is unhappy:
Whatever the reason, conservatives are getting their vote and progressives have been shut down.
Firedoglake is very angry:
Thank you, Planned Parenthood and NARAL, from the bottom of my heart, for sitting on your hands and enabling this shit. Hope you have fun at all those Common Purpose meetings, those cocktail parties at the Pelosi’s.
You own this one.
It’s not like they haven’t been perfecting this act for a long time. Helping the Democrats stay in power by giving them the Official Good Gyno Seal of Approval even when they do things like — oh, I don’t know, voting for Samuel Alito and tell rape victims to take a cab to another hospital if they want to get Plan B contraception.
Could they whip the pro-choice women to block the rule if they want to? Of course they could. Yank their endorsements and they could cause havoc in the Democratic party. But they won’t, because Nancy Keenan and Cecile Richards value their own personal position in the veal pen pecking order WAY too much for that.
Well Jane I suggest you call your people and make sure they vote against this bill then.
Update 3: Be aware of course that if this DOES pass it will pass with no more than 225 votes if even. Nancy will give as many of her Blue dogs the ability to vote “No” as she can for appearances sake.
Update 4: The Debate is going on the floor but the fight is going on out of sight. A great pol doesn’t call for a vote unless they know they have the votes. Pelosi is not a great pol but she continues to play the cards she has. The idea of playing the Obama card considering the results of the election seems humorous. I’d think he would have other things to do but then again he has George and Barbara Bush to visit Ft. Hood instead.
Apparently said president is assuring Pro-Abortion democrats that he will make sure the language is killed in conference. For some reason the left is convinced:
No Progressive Block, apparently due to Obama reassurance. To my knowledge, no pro-choice Democrats have threatened to vote against the bill as a result of this. Apparently, this is because of a rumor going around Congress that President Obama promised Henry Waxman that he will “personally” work to remove the language in conference. I feel so reassured.
And the footsoldiers of the left are determined to fight:
If the Stupak language survives the conference committee, it is incumbent on those of us who support reproductive rights to pull our support, and actively campaign for defeat of the bill. For today, I’ll grit my teeth and make note of which Democrats to lean on when the vote for final passage comes. But that’s for today. Tomorrow starts the fight to make sure that the bill that ultimately is passed is a bill that supporters of reproductive rights can support.
Remember Abortion is the first and most important sacrament of the left.
Robert Stacy meanwhile says a basic truth:
Without regard to policy, the political question is simple: Whose analysis do you trust? Should Democrats in purple districts trust Nancy Pelosi’s assertion that passing this bill will not have disastrous electoral consequences for Democrats in the 2010 midterms? Or should those Democrats trust their GOP rivals, who appear ready to bet that there will be no downside to a “no” vote.
These purple-district Democrats are being asked to take a gamble, and I would not want to be in their shoes. The “no” vote is the safest bet for any Democrat unsure of his re-election chances in 2010. By voting “no,” the Democrat “takes the issue away” from his Republican opponent, and will be able to point to his health-care vote as evidence of his bipartisanship, thus deflecting any charge of being a rubber stamp for the “Pelosi agenda.”
It’ll be razor thin.
That’s just silly, if Pelosi had 50 votes in her pocket the vote would be razor thin. She is going to let every blue dog she can vote no. If she doesn’t she is a fool and the fact that she is having this debate suggests that she is NOT a fool.
If I was Cantor and I had the votes to kill it I would be VERY quiet about it. They can’t take the chance of the democrats pulling the bill if they see it is about to die.
Ironically if I’m Pelosi and I have the votes I’m keeping it quiet too and letting one or two blue dogs off the hook at a time to give the other side the perception that they can win. So this story is a bad idea:
Hours before an expected vote on a sweeping health care bill, House Democrats believe they’ve secured the 218 votes they need to approve the bill, several party insiders said.
Let’s see what actually happens, I think the odds are much better then they were but I’m not prepared to make a prediction.
Update 6: The Stupak amendment is about to pass. With 2 min to go 46 dems have voted for it. If the rest of the Republicans vote for it then it will make it.
Update 7: One Republican has voted “present” on the amendment (Shadegg) but it is passing by a comfortable margin. 240-194
Update 8: 176-258 against the Republican alternative one Republican voting against (
Paul?) Tim Johnson was the vote against.
Update 9: On the motion to re-commit there are three republicans voting with Democrats no idea who they are. I presume it is Johnson of Ill (what does Obama have on him?) and Cao but that’s just a guess Motion to re-commit is flaming out only 13 dems voting to re-commit That’s a real bad sign, the Abortion amendment must have meant more than I thought.
Update 10: Final vote, nitty gritty time. All the cable networks are now following the vote. Republicans need 41 plus one extra for any republican who might cross over, at the moment 26 Dems have voted against with 12 min to go…29 dems left to vote 30 dem votes against…34 against 18 left on the dem side…36 against 14 left…36 against 10 left to vote…36/9…36/7 not looking good. I think she has the votes and are just figuring who she can let go…37//4…39 dems against, that is exactly what is going on. 5 min left and 1 dem left plus 2 republicans. Right now 218-214 will anyone change?…One republican has voted for. 219-215 with one not voting (presumably Pelosi as tradition dictates). 220-215 Pelosi’s gambit pays off big. Joseph Gao of La is the lone Republican.
Congratulations to the Republican Party for their almost certain election victory coming in 2010.