Late last night rumors began to surface of a deal between House Democrats and the pro-life group of Democrats led by Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak:
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.
FDL has obtained a copy of the concurrent resolution (PDF1, PDF2, PDF3, PDF4), which includes cosponsors Marion Berry, Sanford Bishop, Joseph Cao, Kathy Dahlkemper, Steve Driehaus, Marcy Kaptur, Dan Lipinski, Alan Mollohan, and Nick Rahall. A second source confirms that with the exception of Cao, these are the members of Congress who are still on the fence. Cao is still considered a firm “no” vote.
The deal calls for Stupak to have a vote on his amendment either before or after the House votes to confirm the Senate bill on Sunday. Stupak is confident that he has the votes to pass the measure, and is happy to have the vote after the House passes the Senate bill. He believes that by using a “tie bar” approach, his amendment would be “tied” to the health care bill — which would require just 51 votes in the Senate.
None of this is making the pro-choice crowd happy, though:
Pro-choice members of the House, however, are demanding that the vote on the Concurrent Resolution happen before the House confirms the Senate bill. If in fact it passes, they plan to vote against confirming the Senate bill. They want Rep. Diana Degette to release the names of the 41 cosigners to her letter who pledged to vote against any bill that restricts a woman’s right to choose, and they are angry that the White House has been whipping to push through the Stupak deal.
“It is outrageous that a Democratic Speaker, a Democratic Majority Leader and a Democratic President should support rolling back women’s reproductive rights,” says one member of the group.
We’ll find out more about this deal, and any fallout from it, later this morning. Stupak has a press conference scheduled for 11 at which he’ll presumably announce that the deal.
If this is the real thing though, and assuming that Pelosi and quell any rebellion among the pro-choice ranks, then that pretty much means that the Democrats will have the votes they need on Sunday afternoon.