Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) just spoke to THE WEEKLY STANDARD about the prospects of the House passing the Senate bill unamended, the path to a health care overhaul that liberal commentators think is most viable in the wake of Scott Brown's victory. "There is no plan B," Stupak said. "There are so many problems with the Senate bill from the House view that they wouldn’t get a hundred votes." The Senate bill's abortion-funding provision is only about fourth on the list of problems with the Senate bill, Stupak said.
"People are disappointed, disillusioned with the way the bill came out. There are major differences like how we pay for it--the quality provisions are not in there, [the Senate bill] takes away the anti-trust exemptions. Insurance reform is not in there. You still have probably, about number four on the list, is the abortion issue. The one that has members most upset is the sweetheart deals that states received. I don’t care if you’re the most liberal Democratic member or the most conservative member. That is a non-starter. Leadership has sort of floated that balloon [of passing the Senate bill] and everyone said, ‘No way.’ So, the only thing I think they can do now is to try to come up with a less aggressive bill and try to do something like that."
Stupak continued: "I still think there’s at least 10 to 12 [Democratic] members [who had voted for the bill in November] who have indicated to me that they would not vote for the bill unless it had the Stupak language [on abortion]."
He said that at last night's Democratic caucus meeting, it seemed as if the Democratic leaders were operating on the assumption that Scott Brown wasn't a factor. After being filled in on the House negotiations with the Senate, Stupak said, “we're looking at each other like, yeah, well that’s that's good, but … even if you reach agreement, can you have it done by tomorrow? Because you're not going to have 60 votes come tomorrow. They filled us in and it was almost like there wasn’t an election in Massachusetts."