Lots of whip counts out there. I’m sticking with FireDogLake.com. A couple other sources say Pelosi has her 216, but she wouldn’t be talking to Bart Stupak (see below) if that were true. Remember, whichever side gets to 216 wins…
An FDL add-on:
We’ll certainly know in the morning, but Nancy Pelosi is fast running out of options without members of the ubiquitous Stupak bloc…
CNN picks up the story from there, reporting tonight…
The divisive issue of abortion is once again causing problems for House Democrats as they plan to move forward with the health care bill.
Anti-abortion Rep. Bart Stupak, D-MI, 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 request.
Rep. Diana Degette, D-CO, told reporters a vote on Stupak’s measure was a “nonstarter,” saying, “somewhere between 40 and 55” abortion-rights Democrats would bolt from the bill.
“We are holding firm this time,” she said. “If Mr. Stupak and a few members along with the Republicans decide to use this to take health care down, that loss of health care will be in their hands.”
It wasn’t clear whether Democratic leaders were seriously considering allowing a vote on Stupak’s abortion language, or in what form. But Stupak said he is in talks with Pelosi….
What is Stupak’s offer? From The Daily Caller, tonight…
Stupak is reportedly trying to change the [Senate healthcare bill’s] 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….
Stupak just explained to Greta VanSusteren, from my transcribed shorthand: “I’m not asking for changes in the healthcare bill…. I introduced a separate piece of legislation…The resolution would say there’s a mistake and has to be be fixed president signs it…. Both the House and Senate would have to vote on it, yes… I’m offering a way for them to solve the problem. I’m not saying they’re going to accept it, but I’m offering it.
The Hill picks up the story from there…
Pelosi… on Friday evening met with a visibly angry Pro-Choice Caucus amid rumors from Democratic aides that the Speaker was working on a last-minute deal with… Stupak… to give his abortion language a separate vote….
[A] senior Democratic aide directly involved in the abortion debate said Pelosi appeared to have agreed to give Stupak a vote on an “enrollment resolution” offered by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), a key Stupak ally.
Kaptur’s resolution contains the same abortion language that Stupak successfully attached at the 11th hour to the House healthcare bill in November. Were the resolution to pass the House, it would instruct the Senate clerk to change the healthcare bill to reflect Stupak’s more restrictive language to prohibit federal dollars from going toward abortion coverage….
Pelosi spoke on the floor with Stupak for 10 minutes immediately before a group of pro-abortion rights Democrats angrily surrounded Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), and then headed into the Speaker’s office just off the House floor.
Stupak, meanwhile, has scheduled a press conference at 11 a.m. Saturday. “Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll have it for you and can give it to you,” he said of the proposal.
Stupak has maintained that he has enough votes to kill the healthcare bill, and has threatened to do so unless his demands that his language be included in the eventual healthcare law are met.
Stupak’s threats were real enough in November to force Pelosi to add his language to the House bill at the last minute. That language, which Stupak has said is the only language that upholds the Hyde Amendment, won the votes of 68 Democrats as an amendment to the House bill.
The vote prompted an angry backlash from members of the Pro-Choice Caucus, who vowed to kill any future healthcare bill containing the Stupak language, which they say goes beyond current law and places more restrictions on abortion than already exist.
Leaders of the Pro-Choice Caucus, some 30 minutes after storming into Pelosi’s office, renewed that threat.
“This concurrent resolution which Congressman Stupak and several others have filed, from the position of the people who signed my letter back in November, is a non-starter,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), a Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairwoman. “We compromised to the concept ‘no federal funding for abortion,’ which is current law – we don’t like that. And so if Mr. Stupak and a few members, along with the Republicans, decide to use this to take healthcare down, then that loss on healthcare coverage is going to be on their hands.”
DeGette said a move allowing the enrollment resolution to go forward would put “somewhere between 40 and 55” pro-abortion rights votes at stake.
That math was also leading to counter-rumors, including from aides of anti-abortion rights Democrats, that Pelosi could not realistically be putting even a dozen votes from the left at stake for the sake of Stupak and his allies.
One of those aides also speculated that even if they won a vote on the enrollment resolution, Stupak, Kaptur and the remaining holdouts would still have a difficult time voting for the reconciliation bill unless there was some guarantee that the Senate could pass it as well.
To that end, one version of the resolution apparently being discussed between Pelosi and Stupak would say that the Senate bill won’t be considered as having passed in the House until the Senate sends a message to the House stating that it has also passed the Stupak resolution, according to a knowledgeable Democratic aide.
But that would seem to be a very heavy lift for the Senate – and possibly even the House – even under the best of circumstances.
In December, Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) offered an amendment to the Senate healthcare bill based on Stupak’s language, but 54 senators, including 2 Republicans – ME Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe – voted against it….
More on the pro-abort flummox, from The Daily Caller…
Degette emerged clearly agitated from a meeting with Pelosi and other pro-choice members in a room just off the House floor.
She said the Stupak proposal was a “non-starter.”
“Nobody likes this,” she said, claiming that more than 40 pro-choice Democrats would oppose the move.
“If Mr. Stupak and a few members… decide to use this to take health care down, then that loss of health care coverage will be on them,” she said.
Asked if she was willing to vote against the health care bill if Stupak got his way, she said “we are not going to vote for a bill that restricts the woman’s right to choose beyond current law.”
“So you’re willing to take down the health care bill?” the Daily Caller asked.
“That’s it! That’s all I’m saying!” she said.
She then added: “I’m not taking any bill down.”