Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Stupak starting to fold?

Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who has insisted that he wouldn't vote for the health care bill unless it was stripped of all federal funding of abortion, is starting to sound like he's ready to believe Democratic promises to keep out the federal funding.
Rep. Bart Stupak said he expects to resume talks with House leaders this week in a quest for wording that would impose no new limits on abortion rights but also would not allow use of federal money for the procedure.

"I'm more optimistic than I was a week ago," Stupak said in an interview between meetings with constituents in his northern Michigan district. He was hosting a town hall meeting Monday night at a local high school.

"The president says he doesn't want to expand or restrict current law (on abortion). Neither do I," Stupak said. "That's never been our position. So is there some language that we can agree on that hits both points — we don't restrict, we don't expand abortion rights? I think we can get there."
That would be the same president who says he supports the Senate bill which does allow for federal funding of abortion and which Stupak opposes.

I never thought that the Democrats would let their health care bill lose based just on insisting on a funding of abortion that doesn't exist today. The question remains of how they get there from here. Stupak and his buddies would have to vote for the Senate bill with its funding of abortion and then hope that the House and Senate could pass an abortion bill that then stripped out that funding. Allahpundit points out that such a bill could never pass without Republican support.
If the GOP wanted to play hardball here, McConnell and Boehner could issue a statement saying that Republicans will not vote for any abortion fix later on but will instead vote “present” as a way of protesting the passage of ObamaCare. That would leave Stupak in a bind because, without Republican votes, there’s likely no way an abortion bill to his liking would pass the House or Senate. The risk is, if the GOP makes that move, then the pro-choice Democratic congressional majority could pass a law providing for abortions to be fully funded under ObamaCare, which would leave Republicans who voted “present” with some ’splaining to do to pro-life groups. Exit question: What happens now?
The Republicans won't play that kind of hardball, just as they didn't do so to pass the House bill in the first place.

What is left is hoping that the so-called Blue Dogs would stand strong against the spending and budget-busting elements of the Democratic bill. That's a very thin hope. I don't see any of those guys standing up and saying that they will be the sole vote to stop Obama and Pelosi and Reid from getting what they want. Put not your faith in the strength of the Blue Dogs.