Sources tell the Wonk Room that Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and his 40 pro-life Democratic colleagues successfully won debate for a restrictive abortion amendment on the House floor by moving the goal posts on an earlier agreement.
Stupak had agreed to keep the amendment from the floor if it received a hearing in the rules committee. But, once the Conference of Catholic Bishops refused to endorse the bill unless the amendment was accepted, Stupak and his colleagues demanded a vote on the floor and threatened to derail the bill. Unable to muster enough opposition to Stupak’s ‘gang of 40,’ the Democratic majority agreed to move the the amendment to the floor and vote for the full bill if the amendment passed.The Conference of Catholic Bishops has since endorsed the bill and House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Mike Pence (R-IN) will all vote “yes” on the Stupak amendment.
Today, during the Democratic press conference that followed the caucus’ meeting with the President, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she recommended that the Stupak amendment be voted on the floor. The amendment is expected to pass.
Huffington Post is reporting that Stupak “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.”