NRLC will score the upcoming roll call votes on cloture on the Reid manager’s amendment, and on the underlying bill, as votes in favor of legislation to allow the federal government to subsidize private insurance plans that cover abortion on demand, to oversee multi-state plans that cover elective abortions, and to empower federal officials to mandate that private health plans cover abortions even if they do not accept subsidized enrollees, among other problems.
In addition, if the final bill produced by a House-Senate conference committee does not contain the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, NRLC will score the House and Senate votes on the conference report as votes to allow federal mandates and subsidies for coverage of elective abortion.
And Rep. Bart Stupak (D) has or has not sent out his people to talk to or not talk to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R) people. Hard to say.
People in the know in Washington appear to have already considered and dismissed the “ping pong” option–the possibility that if the Senate finally passes a compromise health care bill, Pelosi’s House might simply vote “yes” on the exact same bill, avoiding the need for a “conference” to reconcile the House and Senate versions and instead sending the bill directly to the President for his signature. But from outside Washington, out here in the real America, this “ratification” route still looks awfully appealing–especially this week.
…there are pragmatic problems to consider: the House health care rationing bill passed with only two votes to spare, and only because of the Stupak amendment. The Senate version currently lacks similar language, and it will probably not even get to a vote unless ‘public option’ is removed. Put another way: for this gambit to work it’ll require no public option and hefty rules against federal funding of abortion. Put yet another way: this gambit doesn’t just metaphorically gut-shoot progressives. It requires that progressives metaphorically gut-shoot themselves as part of the process.
I’m not saying that they won’t do it. Progressive Democratic legislators are quite good at emulating jellyfish. But this would be above and beyond the usual spinelessness.
While Carnahan’s response to the first question might be at least considered a standard attempt at mealy-mouthing, and thus not overly outrageous; I cannot imagine how any progressive watching that could be pleased at her ‘answer’ to the second question. Every credible side in the health care dispute concedes that the Stupak amendment is relevant to the discussion, and people are keeping track of who has what opinion of it. Robin Carnahan’s going to have to choose a side.
PS: What exactly did the Carnahan family do in Missouri to justify their quasi-hereditary political status in that state? Save St. Louis from a rampaging Mississippi River monster?
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