With all eyes on pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan and the 12 so-called Stupak Dems who he says will vote 'no' on health-care reform without language that would ban federal funding of abortion, Stupak seemed to strike a sunnier note late yesterday:
"I'm more optimistic than I was a week ago," Stupak said in an interview between meetings with constituents in his northern Michigan district. He was hosting a town hall meeting Monday night at a local high school.
"The president says he doesn't want to expand or restrict current law (on abortion). Neither do I," Stupak said. "That's never been our position. So is there some language that we can agree on that hits both points — we don't restrict, we don't expand abortion rights? I think we can get there."
On the other hand, The Hill's survey of 100 wavering Dems shows the White House has a lot of convincing to do yet:
Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) are firm “no”s on the bill, according to their offices.
Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.), Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) are undecided.
Meanwhile, Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), who supports Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) anti-abortion rights language, is leaning yes, according to his spokesman.
The Stupak abortion language is unlikely to be included in the final measure, leading some House committee chairmen to hold back their votes.