The Hill reports:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that abortion and immigration are not central to the Democrats' healthcare reform overhaul, even though the issues have served as sticking points for some in her caucus.
Pelosi said that the primary purpose of the bill was to expand healthcare coverage, but some anti-abortion rights lawmakers have said they may not support legislation moving forward because they fear the first part of the president's healthcare plan could allow federal funding for abortions.
Here is the exchange from Pelosi's press conference Tuesday afternoon:
PELOSI: Under the budget resolution you can only take up issues that are central to the budget. None of these issues...are dealt with in the budget.
Neither of these issues is central to the bill. This is not an immigration bill, this is not an abortion bill. It is a bill that would provide more healthcare for all Americans.
QUESTION: Is that your message to your Democrats? That these issues are not central to the bill? Because they are in the Senate bill.
PELOSI: They are not central to the budget. That's what I just said. In order to be part of the budget bill, it has to be central to the budget....It's a very strict rule.
Pelosi could, in fact, fix these provisions--if she agreed to scrap the Senate monstrosity and started over on another more modest bill.