Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rep. Stupak: White House Pressuring Me to Keep Quiet on Abortion Language in Senate Health Bill

From CNS News:
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said the White House and the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives have been pressuring him not to speak out on the "compromise" abortion language in the Senate version of the health care bill.

“They think I shouldn’t be expressing my views on this bill until they get a chance to try to sell me the language,” Stupak told CNSNews.com in an
interview on Tuesday. “Well, I don’t need anyone to sell me the language. I can read it. I’ve seen it. I’ve worked with it. I know what it says. I don’t need to have a conference with the White House. I have the legislation in front of me here.”...

The current version of the Senate bill contains
so-called “compromise” language crafted by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). This language does not bar taxpayer funding of health plans that cover abortion, but does create a firewall to supposedly keep federal money from being used to pay for abortions. Over the weekend, Stupak issued a statement calling the proposed Senate language "unacceptable."

"A review of the Senate language indicates a dramatic shift in federal policy that would allow the federal government to subsidize insurance policies with abortion coverage," said the statement.

In his interview with CNSNews.com on Tuesday, Stupak said that the White House "asked me just to hold off for awhile and not to say anything about this language.

Stupak said he is not alone in being pressured from the White House and the House Democratic leadership – other pro-life Democratic colleagues apparently are, as well. But they plan to hold firm, he said...

When asked if he has the votes he needs to stop the bill if, in its final version, it does not include the language of his amendment or nearly identical language, Stupak did not answer directly.

“Well, if all the issues are resolved and we’re down to the pro-life view or, I should say, no public funding for abortion, there’s at least 10 to 12 members who have said, repeatedly, unless this language is fixed and current law is maintained, and no public funding for abortion," said Stupak. "There’s 10 or 12 of us, and they only passed the bill by 3 votes, so they’re going to be short 8 to 9, maybe 6 to 8 votes. So they [Democrats] do not have the votes to pass it in the House.”...
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