The abortion issue, you may recall, was described by George Stephanopoulos as “the gravest threat” to the health reform bill. The largest concentration of Democratic NO votes on health care reform are because of the abortion issue.
So, naturally, in an article about Speak Pelosi’s efforts to rally votes for ObamaCare, the New York Times actually talked about other issues besides the public option as critical to passage of the bill. Here is what the New York Times said about abortion yesterday:
“House Democratic leaders are still trying to figure out exactly how to limit the use of federal money for abortions.”
In other words, they know that their current language will not satisfy, among others, the Catholic Church, which issued a change it or else threat. But the Democratic Leadership has not figured out what to do. The demands of the pro-life Democrats have been really straight-forward, give us a vote on our amendments to ban federally funded abortions and allow medical providers the ability to refuse to perform or help perform abortions.
What this really means is that the Speaker does not want to compromise and allow pro-life amendments, unless she has absolutely no other choice in the matter.
On that issue, the NYT reports “Ms. Pelosi said she had not decided whether lawmakers would be allowed to offer amendments on the House floor.”
The Speaker will not allow the pro-life Democrats to offer and get votes on their amendments. She has not said yes, meaning she is now at no.
Further, the need to get CBO to score the bill before it gets to the House floor was also acknowledged as another complication, as the NYT reported: “In addition, before taking their bill to the House floor, Democrats need to get a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.” This is no small matter, since scoring takes about two week, once CBO has the language in hand.
There are other issues that are causing intra-Dem heartburn, and one of them is the Democratic Governors who are very concerned about the unfunded mandates the federal government is imposing on State governments. A Medicaid concerns letter signed by more than a dozen (14) Democratic Senators, sent late last week to Senators Reid, Baucus and Dodd, can be found here.
It is useful to note that the Speaker does not have the votes for ObamaCare now, nor will she likely anytime soon. Other vote draining issues on the Democratic side are the cuts to Medicare Advantage, the public option, the spending and tax levels of the bill and whether to give illegal immigrants benefits under the bill.