by Steven Ertelt
March 5, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The leader of the pro-abortion contingent in the House of Representatives claims pro-life advocates don't have the votes to stop the pro-abortion Senate health care bill there. However, it appears Rep. Diana DeGette's arithmetic may need some updating as opponents have the advantage.
DeGette, a pro-abortion lawmaker from Denver, Colorado, and the head of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, talked with a top Congressional newspaper about her theory.
"I don't think Congressman Stupak has the votes to kill healthcare legislation over his language not being in there," DeGette told The Hill.
DeGette is responding to Rep. Bart Stupak, the leading pro-life Democrat who has promised to vote against the Senate bill along with about 12 of his colleagues who don't want to force Americans to fund abortions.
"He says he has 10 or 11 people who will vote no, but a lot of those people voted no the first time, but there are also a lot of other people who voted no the first time who now want to support the bill," she said.
However, that's not the case. All of the pro-life Democrats -- and pro-life Republican Rep. Anh Cao of Louisiana -- who are saying they will vote against the Senate bill because it funds abortions voted for the House bill the first time because it included the Stupak amendment.
DeGette also can't seem to figure out whether she and other abortion advocates like the pro-abortion Senate bill's abortion funding or think it's too weak.
"With respect to the Senate abortion language, the pro-choice caucus is waiting to see the final language the White House comes out with," DeGette told The Hill. "We want to analyze that."
Later, she said, "the good news is that the Senate bill does allow abortion coverage."
The numbers on the Senate health care bill appear to be moving in the pro-life direction against the legislation -- and more House members are saying they will oppose it.
Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, a South Dakota Democrat and leader of the 54-member Blue Dog coalition of conservative Democrats, told the Rapid City Journal newspaper she will vote against the bill.
And a spokesman for Rep. Frank Kratovil, a Maryland Democrat who was considered undecided, indicated Kratovil will vote no as well.
President Barack Obama and Democrats have set March 18 as the date for a vote on the pro-abortion health care bill, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a hard time getting enough votes.
The House approved its bill 220-215 and the defection of Stupak, Cao, and those 10-12 Democrats would be enough to defeat the measure. With no Republicans planning to vote for the Senate bill, Democrats have to hope for some votes from among the gains among the 39 House Democrats who voted against the bill last time.
Yet, the Wall St. Journal surveyed all House Democrats who voted against the House bill and found just a half dozen members who say they are undecided or leaning yes.
Republican leaders are confident Pelosi will not be able to get the votes to pass the bill.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, says he is confident 11 of the 40 Democrats who voted for the House bill and for the Stupak amendment are likely to vote no because of the abortion funding in the Senate measure.
One of the Democrats on Cantor’s list, pro-life Rep. Daniel Lipinski, told the Daily Caller Cantor is likely right.
“While I cannot speak for anyone else, I do believe there is a double-digit number of pro-life Democrats that I expect will not vote for any health-care reform bill that provides federal funding for abortion,” Lipinski said.
An aide to another pro-life Democrat agreed.
“This is an issue that morally there’s no compromise," the aide told the Daily Caller. “It appears the life issue is the central issue” to getting enough votes for passage of a health-care bill."
Pelosi has lost four of the votes she needs for the bill to resignations and changes in the makeup of the House and that leaves her with just 216 to start with to pass the bill -- the number she needs to get it through.
The process also doesn't take into account some liberal Democrats who voted yes for the bill and may vote against the Senate bill because it is not liberal enough.
Ultimately, with more members likely switching from yes to no than from no to yes, Pelosi has an uphill battle. But pro-life advocates will not yield any ground in trying to get as many votes against the bill as possible.