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” measure, his amendment would be “tied” to the health care bill — which would require just 51 votes in the Senate.
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…
Alan Grayson, who voted against the Stupak Amendment when it went before the House last October, now has 80 cosponsors for his public option amendment, but has not been granted a floor vote.
There are many more pro-choicers in the House than there are members of Stupak’s bloc, so Pelosi would actually lose votes by agreeing to this unless one of two things is true. (1) It’s all for show. The pro-lifers want nothing more than a vote in the Senate. They expect to lose, but the political cover they’ll gain for making a minor stand on principle is enough to make it worth their while. Except … if it’s true that Stupak only needs 51 votes in the Senate, not 60, then this might actually pass. (If you’re wondering why they need only 51, cross your fingers and read this primer on “enrollment corrections bills.” Essentially, you’re allowed to make minor technical changes to a bill even after it’s been passed. Is this a minor technical change? Why, no. But Stupak will try anything, I guess.) (2) The pro-choicers are planning to cave. They caved in November, didn’t they? Problem is, this is the final bill and they … sure don’t sound like they’re going to cave. Diana DeGette, leader of the pro-choice caucus, claims she has the votes to kill it if Stupak gets his way, and given how close the margin is, it’d only take three or four stalwarts to walk to torpedo the whole thing. Drama!
The good news here is that it surely means Madam Speaker doesn’t have the votes yet, right? Not so fast: A friend of the site e-mailed us about an hour ago to say that he spoke to a Democratic congressman he’s pals with earlier tonight. Quote:
He tells me with certainty that they have plenty of votes and that some yes votes will be allowed to vote no if they choose for their protection. He says that everyone’s internal polling has been much better than expected. He says at this point that last sticking point is whether to give Stupak a separate vote, which Pelosi is considering.
Lest you think this is a sketchy “I’ve got this friend, see…” tip, I assure you that he did give us the name of his congressional source. Assuming our tipster’s right, the only reason I can come up with for why Pelosi wants to bring Stupak’s bloc onboard is that she thinks most of the Stupakers occupy safe-ish seats in November — especially if their abortion language passes — and therefore adding them to the tally would let her cut loose some Blue Dogs who are less safe and really need to vote no. But of course, that only makes sense if all of the pro-choicers stay onboard. And given the anger being expressed, if they’re onboard right now, they’re doing an amazing job of hiding it.
Exit question: Is this all just lefty spin being fed to Firedoglake by peeved pro-choicers? We’ll find out at Stupak’s presser tomorrow. 11 a.m.!