Pelosi Scrambles for 11th Hour Deal on Abortion
She doesn't have the votes.
3:22 AM, Mar 20, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
The Hill reports that Nancy Pelosi is working on a deal with pro-life Democrats to add Bart Stupak's amendment to the health care bill with an "enrollment corrections bill." That means she doesn't have the votes without Stupak and his band of brothers (and sisters).
“There's a proposal out there, and we want to see it in writing and massage it,” Stupak told The Hill. “We have nothing yet.”
We're getting deep, deep into the weeds of parliamentary procedure, but I believe this is how an enrollment corrections bill could work. There would be a separate vote in the House, and it would then go to the Senate (if it passes the House). What is crucial for Stupak is that he needs to get an ironclad procedural guarantee that the health care bill would be passed only on the condition that the Senate passed his correction. Stupak would need the rule to deem the Senate bill passed, but make its passage conditional upon the Senate's passage the Stupak enrollment correction.
Without a conditional agreement, Democrats in the Senate could double-cross pro-life House Democrats.
Although this may be procedurally possible, it may be politically impossible because it would require pro-choice Democrats in the House and Senate to swallow what they consider to be a very bitter pill. Rep. Diana DeGette says that more than 40 pro-choice Democrats will vote against the bill if it includes the Stupak amendment. "We are holding firm this time," DeGette 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."
Well, actually both sides are now threatening to take down the health care bill over abortion. It's a question of whether either side will cave. While there may not actually be 40 pro-choice Democrats who would join her, there are probably more than a few. Jan Schakowsky has pledged to vote against the bill if it includes the Stupak language. And don't forget that Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut is the former executive director of EMILY's List. See her anti-Stupak floor speech from November: