Did Pelosi Exclude Pro-Life Congresswomen From Meeting? (Updated)
She doesn't have the votes without the Stupak bloc.
5:03 PM, Mar 17, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
According to Thomas Peters, Nancy Pelosi's emergency meeting this morning with the female Democratic House members was called after she met with Bart Stupak yesterday, and Stupak "didn't cave to her demands." There's been chatter on Capitol Hill today that Pelosi excluded pro-life women from a meeting this morning, and a staffer for pro-life Democrat Marcy Kaptur tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD's Daniel Halper that Kaptur did not attend this morning's meeting, though the staffer didn't specify why Kaptur didn't attend.
It seems like Pelosi is trying to do one of two things: persuade the pro-choice women to cave in and accept the Stupak amendment, or persuade the pro-choice women who voted "no" last time to switch their votes to "yes" in order to protect abortion-on-demand.
Pelosi has already said that reconciliation cannot change language on abortion, but there may be a parliamentary maneuver outside of reconciliation to add the Stupak amendment before the final vote on the bill takes place. Details are a little hazy on this, and it's unclear if pro-choice leaders would cave in. Forty-two pro-choice House Democrats signed a letter saying they would not vote for final passage if the bill included the Stupak amendment, and Jan Schakowsky recently reaffirmed her committment to kill the bill if it included Stupak. When Pelosi allowed an up-or-down vote on his amendment in November, it elicited "tears from some veteran [Democratic] female lawmakers," according to Politico.
A lot has been made about erstwhile pro-lifer Jim Oberstar abandoning Stupak, but Pelosi's maneuvering seems to be the bigger news. She doesn't appear to have the votes to pass the bill unless pro-life or pro-choice Democrats cave in.
Update: An earlier version of this post said it wasn't clear if Stupak had talked to Pelosi. Stupak told Fox News today that he had spoken to her.