Green Room

Is the House GOP enabling PelosiCare?

posted at 3:32 pm on November 7, 2009 by

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.

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I cant think of a reason WHY they are doing that either.

They are helping pass the bill. They dont control anthing – so I doubt there is a secret plan to defeat it.

winged on November 7, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Oh my, please do not let any R vote for this either in the house or senate.

letget on November 7, 2009 at 4:25 PM

My thoughts exactly, Karl. Enough R’s should vote “present” to kill the Stupak amendment. I’m hoping that the House Republican leadership is secretly planning this behind the scenes to deliver an embarrassing loss to Obama and the Dems.

Ultimately, whether this version of the bill passes the House with or without the Stupak amendment doesn’t matter too much. If the D’s allow for federal funding for abortion in the final bill (after the House-Senate conference), the pro-life House D’s could be forced to vote “no”. So the language will very likely be in the final bill. If we can stop this version in its tracks sans Stupak, maybe the whole healthcare government takover train will fall off the rails.

free-thinker on November 7, 2009 at 4:44 PM

UPDATE: As of about 4:30 EST the GOP Whips Office says 31 Dems are a No on health care.

That’s about 9 short of killing it, depending on how many vote. The question is, will some of them switch to yes if Stupak passes or worse, will some who would vote no if Stupak fails be yes because it passes with Republican votes?

I get many GOP reps want to vote against abortion whenever they can but the way to ensure that federal funds don’t pay for abortions is to kill Obama Care not to pass the Stupak amendment.

Bohener just got Rangel to admit he can’t guarantee that if Stupak passes, he can’t guarantee that it will survive conference or that Rangel himself will vote against a bill that doesn’t have Stupak in it.

The GOP has to vote no on this. It’s a sham. Kill the bill and kill it now.


Wethal on November 7, 2009 at 4:49 PM

I think a better strategy would be for ALL the Republicans to abstain from voting on Stupak’s amendment. Make the darn Blue dogs stand up.

huckleberryfriend on November 7, 2009 at 5:36 PM

The National Right to Life is pushing the GOP hard on this amendment. Here is a link about Stupak from National Review’s The Corner. The post has a link in it to the statement from the NRTL.

Even though I am extremely pro-life, I have been hesitant to sign many of the pro-life petitions for this healthcare bill, simply because the petitions only dealt with the issue of life and none of the other monstrosities in this bill. I don’t want them to think that abortion is my only objection. Abortion is a major objection, but I have so many other major objections as well. I do not want my rep thinking that the bill is ok if they can fix the govt.-funded abortion problem.

squeek71 on November 7, 2009 at 5:39 PM

The GOP needs to stick to principle and vote YES on the Pro-Life amendment.

Puts us in a good position … the majority of Americans are Pro-Life. On the final bill – we vote no. Most Americans are against PelosiCare.

Let the Democrats bury their heads in the sand. They are going to have very sore butts next November.

HondaV65 on November 7, 2009 at 5:43 PM

unfortunately I’ve had the thought that R’s wouldn’t mind if this passed.

1. Medicare/Medicaid are unsustainable. Eventually there will have to be a roll back in services. Someone is going to have to do it, either now or in the future.

2. Republicans have been weak on the whole subject. Aside from a few talking points (tort reform, insurance across state lines) they have never siezed the initiative (yes, I know they are terribly out gunned now, but what about under Bush?)

3. There are many creative ideas which fall short of nationalizing healthcare which would be extremely helpful. R’s do not bring these up, and generally do not show that they have any answers. Or, to put it another way, the person with a Plan will beat a person without a Plan.

So, the R’s have failed…yes, maybe they’ll be able to block in the Senate. Maybe they’ll be able to have a tactical victory.

But they do not have a strategic view of overcoming a 100 year old idea.

If you’re not very bright and don’t have a strategic view, then you are doomed to let someone else do the work.

But then again, R’s have had a history of being in the minority…and it ain’t so bad, you don’t have to take responsibility for what happens

r keller on November 7, 2009 at 5:50 PM

It’s like Sophie’s Choice. There’s no good answer.

JohnJ on November 7, 2009 at 5:50 PM

P.S., yes, I’m bitter

r keller on November 7, 2009 at 5:51 PM

r keller on November 7, 2009 at 5:50 PM

They haven’t failed – they seem to be playing this very well in fact. The GOP needs to go on record continuously for supporting LIFE – and so voting “yes” on Stupac is a good thing if for no other reason.

But … PelosiCare is not the final bill. If it fails tonight – then that’s it – basically the health care push is over. The Dems would have egg on their faces for a little while – but they’d possibly be able to escape the bloodbath we’re preparing for them at the polls next year.

Let PelosiCare pass. Let the BlueDogs support it. Tomorrow – people WILL read the 2,000 page bill and we can pick apart every Democrat who voted for it. This all makes for a stupendous train wreck for Democrats later on down the line.

Everything is progressing nicely … don’t sweat it. The GOP for once has their finger on the pulse.

HondaV65 on November 7, 2009 at 6:02 PM

I agree with “stupendous train wreck”…but for the country, not the Dems

I agree that some R’s get it:

But I don’t see the R’s giving lots of detail. I understand that they are hunkered down under enemy fire now.

Everyone has always known that Dems want single payer. Everybody.

Have the R’s shown any desire to get down and dirty with healthcare groups…e.g. nurses, doctors, state regulators, and yes, community groups to try to work out something PROACTIVELY?????

No, it is easier to vote for your own narrow interests. Meanwhile the Left cobbles together a grand PLAN that is triggered at the first opportunity

The Left is cunning and works hard to do what it does. It has huge resources with which to do it.

But I’d like to think that conservatives/R’s have more that that, they have the power of ideas

r keller on November 7, 2009 at 6:14 PM

The GOP needs to stick to principle and vote YES on the Pro-Life amendment.

Puts us in a good position … the majority of Americans are Pro-Life. On the final bill – we vote no. Most Americans are against PelosiCare.

Let the Democrats bury their heads in the sand. They are going to have very sore butts next November.

HondaV65 on November 7, 2009 at 5:43 PM

This is stupidity. I called Cong Linder’s office (R-GA)and told the office flunky that I considered a vote for the STupak amendment a vote for the PelosiCare bill and if he voted for either he would lose my support. Call yours now.

bill30097 on November 7, 2009 at 7:38 PM

Gee, the Republicans couldn’t possibly be secretly in favor of socialized medicine, could they?

Hmmm, wonder which way the wind is blowing.

SagebrushPuppet on November 7, 2009 at 9:48 PM

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