Executive Order Looks Like a Way Out for Dems
Looking at the numbers, I don’t see a really good way to evade the Stupak bloc without pulling the trigger on the executive order from the President clarifying no federal funding for abortion services. While Diana DeGette has agreed to such a maneuver, I’ve heard nobody in the Stupak bloc actually do the same. Apparently members are reading the proposed language.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn is going to give members a few hours to review the draft language of an executive order on abortion before he gets back to whipping them. The order is still being drafted and has not yet been circulated.
“I’m sure hopeful,” Clyburn said, of the order’s ability to pickup votes. “I understand the language is being read by various people.”
He says he doesn’t know whether the order will satisfy pro-life Democrats, “but we’re going to be taking a measure of that within the next couple of hours to make sure.”
Stupak has said throughout that he merely wants to affirm current law, and presumably that’s all an executive order would do. But as Suzy Khimm says, Stupak’s kind of backed himself into a corner by arguing that only his amendment would be sufficient. Of course, the executive order is designed to peel off votes softer than Stupak on the issue, like Kathy Dahlkemper, Marcy Kaptur, Steve Driehaus, or the two West Virginia Reps., Nick Rahall and Alan Mollohan.
In a twist, Republicans may offer their own Stupak language inside a motion to recommit. David Waldman tells you more than you ever need to know about that action. But basically, motions to recommit have in recent years been used by the minority to force a distasteful vote on the majority. Certainly the Stupak amendment qualifies. And as it has passed the House already with 240 votes, it certainly good again, which would cause all kinds of problems.
The session tomorrow will begin around 2:00 pm ET. Three votes – potentially four – will be taken. First there will be a vote on the rule, with an hour of debate on it. Expect a vote around 3:00 ET. Then there will be two hours of debate on the reconciliation bill. That will get a vote around 5:00 ET. There would be no debate in between the reconciliation bill and the Senate bill, which would happen around 5:30 ET. If there is a motion to recommit, that would get sandwiched in before the vote on the reconciliation bill.
See you then.