“Sources” say Stupak has reached deal with White House

The story was posted at Politico at 3:10 p.m. Yet, perhaps reflecting the fact that the story only comes from sources, not from Stupak himself, as of 3:17 p.m., the Hill’s whip count still showed 39 No votes. Here is the Politico article:

The White House and anti-abortion Democrats have reached an agreement to defusethe controversy over abortion in the health reform bill—planning a series of steps that will secure the support of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and other Democrats to give party leaders the votes they need to pass reform, sources tell POLITICO.

Under the agreement, President Barack Obama would sign an executive order ensuring that no federal funding will go to pay for abortion under the health reform plans. In addition, Stupak will get to state his concerns about abortion funding in the bill during a colloquy on the House floor during the debate.

And then, Stupak and several other Democratic hold-outs over abortion will sign on to the bill, the sources said. The agreement would almost certainly give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the 216 votes she needs to secure an historic health reform vote by day’s end—capping a year-long drive to achieve Obama’s signature legislative goal.

Stupak himself told reporters in the Capitol that he remains opposed to the bill at this time. “I’m a no vote. There is no agreement. Until there is an agreement I’m a no vote,” Stupak said, but he said the negotiations on a final agreement are continuing.

Asked how many votes hang in the balance, Stupak said, “Enough”—meaning enough to save or kill the bill.

But Rep. Alan Mollohan, who is one of the votes in question, told POLITICO that the language in the agreement has already been essentially cleared. Mollohan said it is only a matter of time for “the follow-through steps” to be implemented.

The small cavalcade of victories for Democratic leaders appeared to put them in position to enact the health care law while allowing more politically vulnerable lawmakers off the hook.

Earlier Sunday, Democratic leaders expressed growing confidence that they would have the votes needed to pass a sweeping health reform measure by day’s end—even as the No. 2 House leader acknowledged Democrats are still a few votes shy of a majority.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats are “low single digits” away from getting the 216 votes needed to pass the bill.

“We’re going to get the votes, low single digits certainly but we’re going to get the votes and we’re going to have the votes this afternoon,” Hoyer (Md.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “There are still members looking at it, trying to make up their minds [but], we think 216 plus votes when we call the roll.”

But Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) insisted the Democrats were already there, saying Sunday would be an historic day, and said: “We have the votes now, as we speak,” he said.

Democrats hope to secure the votes of a trio of veteran Blue Dogs—Rep. Loretta Sanchez of California, and retiring Reps. Marion Berry (Ark.) and John Tanner (Tenn.)—as well as a handful of anti-abortion Democrats who could break from Stupak to back the bill.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 21, 2010 04:17 PM | Send

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