Best news we’ve had all day. If — if — this is for real and not some elaborate kabuki designed to show Stupak et al. standing up for life as part of some phony deal before they cave, then it means she’s seriously worried that she doesn’t have the votes.
Anti-abortion Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan is asking for a vote on his language restricting taxpayer funding for abortion, and a group of female abortion rights Democrats came out of an emergency meeting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office Friday evening visibly angry about the prospect.
Rep. Diana Degette, D-Colorado, told reporters a vote on Stupak’s measure was a “non starter” and said “somewhere between 40 and 55” abortion rights Democrats would bolt from the bill…
“We had a good discussion with the speaker on the floor,” said Stupak. “But there was no agreement and there’s no agreement until we see it in writing and we get a chance to massage it.”
One possibility appears to be allowing a separate vote on Stupak’s abortion measure, which would go to the Senate independent of the health care bill.
Yeah, but what if Stupak and crew pass Reid’s bill and then his abortion measure goes to the Senate and gets voted down? Aha! He’s thought of that:
It was not entirely clear how exactly Stupak’s proposal would work. Stupak is reportedly trying to change the abortion language through a procedure called a “concurrent resolution,” but a parliamentarian expert told The Daily Caller that such a move would face huge hurdles.
The House would likely have to pass the Senate bill, and then hold it back from going to the president for his signature while they voted on the concurrent resolution. That resolution would then have to go through the Senate.
Follow that last link and scroll down for enjoyable angsty hypocrisy from Degette. Two things here. First, this is a perfect follow-up to the post about Michael McConnell’s op-ed since Stupak seems to be trying to do what the Slaughter strategy was originally intended to do — namely, keep the bill out of Obama’s hands until after the Senate’s acted, which is the only leverage the House has over Reid to follow through. Passing the bill and holding it actually seems much safer constitutionally to me too, although I confess to not having researched it. Second point: Will the Stupak bloc’s votes be contingent upon the Senate passing his resolution or merely giving it an up or down vote? If this is a phony deal aimed at giving the Stupakers some minimal political cover before they cave, then presumably it’s the latter; surely they realize that this thing will be shot down in the upper chamber unless tremendous pressure is brought to bear. But if they do bring that pressure to bear, what happens to the pro-choicers in the House? And how can Stupak be sure Pelosi won’t promise to hold the Reid bill until the Senate considers an abortion measure and then double-cross him by sending it immediately to Obama’s desk?
For what it’s worth, Fox News’s very sketchy whip count has Madam Speaker at … 216. But then, if that were true, I wouldn’t be writing this post, would I?