Is the House GOP enabling PelosiCare?
posted at 3:32 pm on November 7, 2009 by Karl
It sort of looks like they are. At the close of Friday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lacked the votes for her version of ObamaCare. She was reportedly about 10 votes short. House Democratic leaders finally decided to allow a vote on the Stupak amendment, which purports to block money in ObamaCare from funding abortions, which made pro-life Dems and apparatchiks in the legislative office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops happy.
The Stupak amendment — which was apparently needed to secure passage of PelosiCare — is expected to pass with assistance from the GOP. Indeed, the House GOP leadership reportedly intends to back the Stupak amendment and is putting the word out to members about it.
Left unmentioned is what the GOP hopes to get out of it. If 25-30 GOPers voted “present” on the Stupak amendment, there would be some trouble on the House floor. Pro-life Dems could try to blame the GOP for their votes for a pro-choice bill — but surely everyone already knows that the GOP intends to solidly oppose the final bill, even if the Stupak amendment passes. Or they could decide to follow their consciences, even if it meant killing the bill. However, unless Boehner, Cantor and Pence are being more devious than I would expect, the House GOP intends to enable pro-life Dems to provide the winning margin for ObamaCare in the House.
Update: Via NRO’s Critical Condition:
With the Stupak amendment set for a vote early this evening, GOP House staffers tell us that its passage is crucial in order to defeat Obamacare down the line. Their logic: Stupak came to an agreement last night with House Democratic leaders. If his amendment got a vote, he argued, then he and other pro-life Democrats could support Pelosi’s bill by final passage. It will be a close vote, they predict. Just now on the House floor, Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) refused to commit to the Stupak amendment being included in the final bill post-conference. And there’s the rub, say the GOP staffers: Stupak should be supported because it preserves current abortion law and blocks federal funding, as well as dividing the Democratic caucus. This is the best way to defeat the bill at its next stage, one says. “The Democrats will battle it out.”
Except that if the Dems can roll their pro-choice members today, they will be able to do it again if the Stupak amendment is part of the final bill, won’t they?
Update x2: The HuffPo has this:
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) told reporters that regardless of the outcome of the vote on his amendment, which would severely restrict coverage of reproductive health issues, the House health care bill is headed for passage. He is whipping support for the amendment and estimates he has 225 votes. If he’s right, the amendment will pass, and he predicted enough pro-life Democrats will vote yes on the final bill to put it over the top. But if it fails, he said, enough pro-lifers — ten to 15, he said — will have been satisfied to have had their vote on the floor that they’ll turn around and support the final bill anyway. Picking up ten to 15 votes would give the bill a comfortable margin for passage.
Maybe that is true — or maybe it is what you say to try to discourage GOPers from voting “present.” With the GOP backing for Stupak, we will likely never know.