President Obama to Address House Democrats Today in Final Push; Pelosi Courting Pro-Life Dems for Last Needed Votes
President Obama will make one last appeal to Congressional Democrats today to try and get over the finish line on approval of Health Care Reform legislation in the House. Yesterday ended with Democrats very close to getting the 216 votes needed for passage, but apparently still several votes short.
It appears they are short because last night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was working with pro-Life House Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak, to come up with a way to gain their support. This angered pro-Abortion Democrats, who are threatening not to support the bill if changes are made to suit the pro-Life Dems. If they had the votes without them, you can bet Pelosi would not even be speaking to the pro-Life Democrats:
Claiming unstoppable momentum but still short of the goal line, President Barack Obama is heading to Capitol Hill to rally House Democrats for a final push on landmark health care legislation.
The battle tilted in Obama's direction Friday as more Democrats revealed their positions. But with a hardly a vote to spare, the divisive issue of how to keep federal funds from being used to pay for abortions emerged once again as a potential last-minute obstacle.
With the showdown vote set for Sunday in the House, Obama decided to make one final, personal appeal to rank-and-file Democrats, arranging a visit to the Capitol Saturday afternoon.
Republicans, unanimous in opposition to the bill, complained anew about its cost and reach.
Under a complex -- and controversial -- procedure the Democrats have devised, a single vote probably will be held to send one bill to Obama for his signature and to ship a second, fix-it measure to the Senate for a vote in the next several days.
Democratic leaders and Obama focused last-minute lobbying efforts on two groups of Democrats, 37 who voted against an earlier bill in the House and 40 who voted for it only after first making sure it would include strict abortion limits that now have been modified.
Leaders worked into Friday night attempting to resolve the dispute over abortion. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., who succeeded last November in inserting strict anti-abortion language into the House bill, hoped to do so again. That prospect angered lawmakers who support abortion rights.
"We're not going to vote for a bill that restricts a woman's right to choose beyond current law," said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., as she left an evening meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Abortion opponents are divided over whether restrictions on taxpayer funding currently in the bill go far enough.
Stupak -- with eight Democrats and one Republican as co-sponsors -- introduced a resolution Friday that would insert his abortion restrictions as a "correction" to the underlying bill. That would add new complications to the already complex strategy Democrats are pursuing to pass the bill, requiring additional floor votes on a highly charged issue.
Stupak and his backers are hoping they have enough leverage to force the leadership to yield to their demand. "I think the vote count has always been close," said Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., a co-sponsor of Stupak's resolution. . . MORE