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Stupak to World: I’m Still Here

Stupak campaign sign (photo: Brian Rendel via Flickr)

The push in the House and Senate for finishing the Senate bill through reconciliation, and the push to include the public option in that reconciliation sidecar, has focused attention on the need for 50 votes in the Senate. The road to 218 in the House (actually 217 now, because of two vacancies) has been less discussed, but people are starting to understand that passage is not guaranteed there. And the main impediment has always been Bart Stupak and his allies on the abortion funding issue. He considers the Nelson amendment from the Senate bill unacceptable, and the reconciliation sidecar strategy offers no way to ameliorate it within the current bill.

I was pleased to see that President Obama’s health care proposal did not include several of the sweetheart deals provided to select states in the Senate bill. Unfortunately, the President’s proposal encompasses the Senate language allowing public funding of abortion. The Senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable. While the President has laid out a health care proposal that brings us closer to resolving our differences, there is still work to be done before Congress can pass comprehensive health care reform.

Let’s recall Stupak’s statements during his brief media flurry after getting his amendment passed last year. “We won fair and square on the floor of the House” was basically his point of view. He considers this a settled victory, and he cannot return home and explain to supporters that the victory transformed into defeat, and he assented to it. Maybe that works for him on some other issues, but not this one. Even though the Nelson amendment may have the same practical effect as Stupak’s, only the latter has his name on it. And the anti-choice groups and the Catholic bishops have Stupak’s back on this.

After understanding that, it becomes a simple question of math. Stupak probably brings 10 House members or so with him on this, not because they are as invested in the abortion funding issue, but because it’s a nice way to vote against a health care bill they don’t want to see pass anyway. All of those votes would need to be made up on the other side, with members flipping from No on the House bill in November to Yes on this one. Virtually all of those potential flippers come from conservative-leaning districts, and all but three are up for re-election in November. If Nancy Pelosi can find 10 votes out of there, she’s a miracle worker. I don’t buy Jim Clyburn’s spin that the House would get even more votes for the bill on the second pass. And Bart Stupak provides the reason why.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Stupak To World: I’m Still Here

The push in the House and Senate for finishing the Senate bill through reconciliation, and the push to include the public option in that reconciliation sidecar, has focused attention on the need for 50 votes in the Senate. The road to 218 in the House (actually 217 now, because of two vacancies) has been less discussed, but people are starting to understand that passage is not guaranteed there. And the main impediment has always been Bart Stupak and his allies on the abortion funding issue. He considers the Nelson amendment from the Senate bill unacceptable, and the reconciliation sidecar strategy offers no way to ameliorate it within the current bill.

I was pleased to see that President Obama’s health care proposal did not include several of the sweetheart deals provided to select states in the Senate bill. Unfortunately, the President’s proposal encompasses the Senate language allowing public funding of abortion. The Senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable. While the President has laid out a health care proposal that brings us closer to resolving our differences, there is still work to be done before Congress can pass comprehensive health care reform.

Let’s recall Stupak’s statements during his brief media flurry after getting his amendment passed last year. “We won fair and square on the floor of the House” was basically his point of view. He considers this a settled victory, and he cannot return home and explain to supporters that the victory transformed into defeat, and he assented to it. Maybe that works for him on some other issues, but not this one. Even though the Nelson amendment may have the same practical effect as Stupak’s, only the latter has his name on it. And the anti-choice groups and the Catholic bishops have Stupak’s back on this.

After understanding that, it becomes a simple question of math. Stupak probably brings 10 House members or so with him on this, not because they are as invested in the abortion funding issue, but because it’s a nice way to vote against a health care bill they don’t want to see pass anyway. All of those votes would need to be made up on the other side, with members flipping from No on the House bill in November to Yes on this one. Virtually all of those potential flippers come from conservative-leaning districts, and all but three are up for re-election in November. If Nancy Pelosi can find 10 votes out of there she’s a miracle worker. I don’t buy Jim Clyburn’s spin that the House would get even more votes for the bill on the second pass. And Bart Stupak provides the reason why.

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David Dayen

David Dayen