A happy ending to last night’s cliffhanger. I think.

“Everyone’s going around saying there’s a compromise—there’s no such thing,” Stupak said. What’s changed between this week and last, Stupak went on, is that he had his first real conversation with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Congressman Henry Waxman about fixing the bill…

Stupak affirmed that he will not settle for an agreement to pass the bill now and fix the bill’s problems on abortion later: “If they say ‘we’ll give you a letter saying we’ll take care of this later,’ that’s not acceptable because later never comes.”…

“Members don’t have a whole lot of appetite to vote for the Senate bill as a stand alone bill–that’s for sure,” Stupak said. “If you’re going to correct these inequities in the Senate bill, you better tie bar it to something. No one wants to vote for a freestanding bill so they can be accused of voting for a special deal for Nebraska on Medicaid.”…

By “tie-bar,” Stupak means that all the fixes, including his amendment on abortion, would pass or fail all at the same time.

If he’s serious about everything being passed together then TNR’s proposal to pass an abortion fix later through the HHS appropriations bill is a nonstarter. But what about that weird jury-rigged Bill A/Bill B scheme that I wrote about earlier, by which the House would basically “merge” the Senate bill and the reconciliation fix and pass those first in order to force Reid to go through with reconciliation afterwards? Stupak’s “tie-bar” demand would mean they’d have to add Bill C — the abortion fix — and have the House “merge” that too by passing it with the other two bills, then Reid would have to somehow find 60 votes for Stupak’s abortion fix in the Senate. (Remember, because abortion is non-budgetary, it can’t be done through reconciliation.) Which brings us back to last night’s question: Would McConnell and the Republicans be smart enough to vote no or “present” on a Senate abortion fix, thereby dooming it to fail and making passage of the House’s “merged” bill impossible? I’m guessing … no. This is the GOP we’re talking about, after all. On to the tie-bar!