Some members of Stupak bloc trying to make a deal with Pelosi? Update: Ellsworth to vote yes, Cao might “reconsider” his no

posted at 5:17 pm on March 19, 2010 by Allahpundit

She and Waxman seemed resigned a few days ago to passing this thing without them and she vowed again just this morning that there’s not going to be any new abortion fix to the bill. In which case, why are Stupakers trying to climb back aboard the yes train? I can understand Pelosi wooing them if she thinks she’s short of 216, but this reads more like they’re trying to woo her. Why?

At least six anti-abortion rights Democrats are open to supporting the healthcare bill if they can get a guarantee from the Senate that it will move separate legislation containing the House abortion language, one of those Democratic holdouts said Friday.

Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), one of Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) gang of staunch opponents of the Senate abortion language, said they are in discussions with senators and House leaders to secure such a commitment.

“There could be some kind of commitment from the other body to act on this later … to ensure that the Senate language does not remain law,” he said…

Rahall expressed confidence that even a guarantee of action would produce the end result that he and others are seeking.

Follow the link and you’ll find Stupak himself laughing at the idea that a guarantee from the Senate means anything. So desperate is Nick Rahall to vote for this travesty that he’s willing to accept a “guarantee of action” from Harry Reid as political cover? He comes from a reddish district, according to the Cook Report; a no vote without an abortion fix would, I suspect, help him more than a yes vote that includes one. And yet, he’s practically begging Reid to lie to him about passing something — which won’t happen, given the pro-choice numbers in the Senate — to give him a reason to vote yes. I’m mystified.

If there is a deal, and the deal consists of nothing more than Dingy Harry’s solemn oath that he’ll get around to a bill at some point eventually, then the Stupakers must think their pro-life constituents are awfully, awfully stupid.

Update: A brutal loss: Brad Ellsworth, a Stupaker who was on the fence and who’s planning a Senate run(!) in Indiana, says yes. And now there’s this:

Rep. Anh Cao (R., La.) tells National Review Online that he “hopes to reconsider” his vote on the health-care bill this weekend, should House Speaker Nancy Pelosi guarantee, “with certainty,” that she can fix its abortion language in a separate, later legislative measure.

That’s horrible news twice over. One: If both Ellsworth and Cao are suddenly breaking towards yes, maybe there is some flimsy deal that’s been struck by the Stupakers. And two: Ain’t no way no chance no how Joe Cao will be the 216th vote, so if he’s thinking about this, he must have reason to believe that Pelosi’s close to getting all the votes she needs and then some.

The silver lining? If there’s a deal, then Pelosi evidently really needs this bloc to get to 216. But now … she may have them.

Update: Smells like a deal. If it is, game over.

Stupak’s office sent out an email saying he will hold a press conference with “other pro-life” members at 11:00a.m. to discuss the health care bill. Maybe all the pro-life Democrats cut a deal?


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