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Amidst a denied report that the White House has threatened NE pro-life Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson with placing NE’s Offutt Air Force Base on a closure list if Nelson’s continues to resist support of Obamacare, comes news he is perusing a proposed abortion compromise being pitched by PA pro-life Dem Sen. Bob Casey.
Recall Democrats for Life’s Kristen Day hinted last week Casey was not to be trusted. to maintain unswerving resolve against abortion in healthcare. Also recall Obama met with Casey privately in the Oval Office Monday.
Following are news reports on the “compromise,” which pro-life groups are rejecting.
From the Associated Press, yesterday…

Nelson… told reporters he was reviewing a proposal to toughen abortion restrictions in the legislation, one of the changes he is seeking. Nelson said the compromise negotiated by… Casey… involves attempt to separate private and public funds, an approach that in the past failed to sway the NE moderate and Catholic bishops.
Asked whether the new language was satisfactory, Nelson said, “I don’t know at this point in time. Constituency groups haven’t responded back yet.

And if the WH isn’t threatening Nelson, it’s trying to bribe him. Also from that AP article:

Democratic officials also disclosed that Nelson’s NE-based chief of staff, Tim Becker, met with WH officials to put the final touches on recent negotiations between his boss and the president. Nelson’s chief concerns deal with issues in NE that are unrelated to the health care bill, said an official with close ties to the senator….

And from (available by subscription only):

Casey… has been deputized by Senate leadership to develop language to satisfy Nelson’s concern that the federal government may wind up subsidizing abortions under the bill. Nelson said he got his first look at Casey’s proposal on Wednesday, though an aide said the 2 senators had not met to discuss it and Nelson had not studied it at length.
Under the bill as written, insurance plans that wish to cover abortion services would have to segregate money used to pay for the procedure from the federal subsidies they receive. Abortions could be obtained only with money paid out-of-pocket by the plans’ customers. The bill would also require people purchasing insurance in new government-run “exchanges” to have access to at least 1 plan that covers abortion and one that does not.
Nelson said Casey’s abortion language was another in a series of congressional attempts to segregate funds used to pay for abortions from federal subsidies; he said the language had been sent to some “constituency groups” for vetting, including the US Conference of Catholic Bishops….
[I]n in a Dec. 14 letter to the Senate, the bishops’ secretariat of pro-life activities made clear that schemes to segregate federal funds from money used to pay for abortions would not pass muster.
“Attempts to achieve such segregation are irrelevant to current policy, which bars federal funds from being used for any part of a package that covers elective abortions,” the archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, wrote.
DiNardo noted that on Dec. 13, the Senate cleared a spending bill that renews existing federal restrictions, known collectively as the Hyde amendment, which prohibit federal health care programs from covering abortion services. The law also prohibits private insurance plans serving Medicaid beneficiaries and federal employees from covering abortion.
The bishops and other anti-abortion groups want the same standards applied to programs created by the Senate’s health care bill, including insurance plans that would receive federal subsidies.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, has seen a summary of the Casey proposal. He called the language “entirely unacceptable.”

From Politico yesterday:

Details remain scarce on the latest abortion compromise, but… Johnson… is already out with a statement criticizing language… Casey… delivered Wednesday to… Nelson….
“This is far cry from the Stupak Amendment,” Johnson said in an e-mail to reporters. “This proposal would break from the long-established principles of the Hyde Amendment by providing federal subsidies for health plans that cover abortion on demand. This is entirely unacceptable.
“It is particularly offensive that the proposal apparently would make it the default position for the federal government to subsidize plans that cover abortion on demand, and then permit individual citizens to apply for conscientious objector status.
“This is an exercise is cosmetics — like putting lipstick on a legislative warthog.”…
Nelson has said he would filibuster the bill unless the abortion language is strengthened. The negative review from NRLC is likely just a preview of the emerging opposition from antiabortion community – and will only make Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s job of convincing Nelson to support the bill that much more difficult.

And from the New York Times, :
… To win the elusive 60th vote, Mr. Reid on Wednesday stepped up efforts to work out a compromise restricting the use of federal money for insurance covering abortion.
Those efforts focused, in particular, on… Nelson… an opponent of abortion who said he had not decided how he would vote on the legislation….
Mr. Nelson had no immediate comment on [Casey’s] proposal, but said: “This is not an issue where you can split the difference. That’s what makes it so challenging.”
In an interview on Wednesday, Richard Doerflinger, a spokesman on abortion for the USCCB, said that the bishops appreciated the goals of some of Mr. Casey’s proposals, but that none of the proposals addressed the fundamental concern of the use of taxpayer money to subsidize insurance that includes coverage of abortion.
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