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March 20, 2010
Pro-Life fix for senate bill might seal Obamacare's fate (Huge Update: Deal is off; Stupak says he's 'Done with Pelosi')
If true, this news may very well put health care reform over the top in the House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made a deal with Rep. Bart Stupak in order to secure his vote and that of other anti-choice Democrats for the health care bill, which is scheduled to be voted on this Sunday. According to a member of Congress who was briefed on the matter, Pelosi has agreed to let Stupak have a vote on his amendment, which instructs the Senate to substitute his language for the Senate language on abortion.
Earlier yesterday , Pelosi seemed to reject Bart Stupak's idea to amend the senate bill after the vote for reform had been taken. But faced with the desperate necessity of getting votes any way possible, Pelosi is gambling that liberal pro-choice members will not bolt entirely and pass the senate bill despite Stupak's "Enrollment Corrections" bill.
Basically, this maneuver allows the senate language on abortion to be passed while Stupak's amendment would be an add on after the fact. The Democrats ran against this kind of tomfoolery when the GOP was in the majority so chalk up another case of hypocrisy to the Democrats.
Pro-choice members, although complaining bitterly, will probably not jump ship. With the vote so close, no Democrat - no liberal - wants to be known as the Democrat who sank health care reform. That's the argument Pelosi is making and it's a darned effective one.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are confident they have the votes anyway and - they say - it's now just a matter of seeing who is allowed to vote "no" among the Blue Dogs to save their seat. In a Pajamas Media article this morning, AT Political Correspondent Rich Baehr shoots down that notion:
If the math for self-preservation and winning in November was between 60% with a no vote and 40% with a yes vote, then I think the undecided Democrats might resist the president's overtures. My guess is that many of the moderate Democrats believe they are doomed regardless (say a 40% chance of winning if they vote no, 30% or less if they vote yes). In that case, the lure of future employment and making fellow Democrats and the president happy will win out.
In the end, Obama and Pelosi may have too much ammunition to keep this bill from becoming law. But as AT Submissions Editor Larrey Anderson , also writing in PJ Media this morning, points out, the challenges to this bill haven't yet begun:
While Larrey nails the issues, there is a chance that none of those challenges will be the "Silver Bullet" that can kill the entire bill. Michael McConnell writing in the Wall Street Journal may have such a weapon:
So here we are at the 11th hour and the vote still hangs in the balance - barely. If the Stupak group bolts and joins the "yes" count, it would appear that the bill would pass with a couple of votes to spare. The "no" group would have to convince all remaining holdouts to follow them - an unlikely prospect indeed.
One bright spot; the Democrats have been predicting victory on this bill for months, bragging how they already have the votes for passage. As we've seen, this has been a passel of lies. It was an effort to create a sense of inevitability about passage and bore no relationship to reality. And while this whip count is based on declared positions by members, there's no guarantees that when the vote comes that members will stick to these positions.
Consider the possibility of defeat for Obamacare hanging by a thread.
That thread just became a guidewire. According to Robert Costa via John McCormack's blog at Weekly Standard , Bart Stupak canceled his presser because Pelosi caved to the pro-choice crowd:
SHE DOESN"T HAVE THE VOTES!
And anti-reformers may be as few as 2 votes away from defeating this bill. They are still talking as if this is a done deal for tomorrow but the Firedoglake guy isn't seeing it.
York is right . It IS a bluff. And with this story changing almost hourly, everything is still up in the air.