Reconciliation is just about the budget, she said.
Still, some anti-abortion Members continued to hold firm. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) reiterated a hard-line position, vowing to oppose any bill unless Stupak-like language is added. There has to be a realization among leadership that they need to pick up votes and abortion is a stumbling block, he said. Nothing yet has moved forward.
There has been some talk, initiated by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), of pushing off the abortion debate and offering both sides of the issue a future vote, but to date, both supporters and opponents of abortion rights have rejected that idea.
Members who support abortion rights, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), said last week that they would not accept any side deals that would give Stupak the chance to put his amendment on a future appropriations bill or any other bill.
Abortion isnt the only headache for Democratic leaders.
The other long-simmering social debate over the treatment of illegal immigrants under the bills reared up late last week when Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus point man on immigration reform, said he planned to vote against the package on account of Senate language that he called too restrictive.
At this time, I am a no vote on health care, he said in a statement Friday. I will fight to change proposals that would exclude our nations hardworking immigrants from the health care exchange, and I would find it extremely difficult if not impossible to vote for any measure that denies undocumented workers health care purchased with their own dollars.
Democratic leadership sources said they hoped the bundling of a student-loan measure with the health care package would compel other CHC members to swallow their reservations about the immigration language.
But there were other problem spots, as well. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), who worked for months to help craft language addressing regional iniquities in the Medicare reimbursement formula, has been raising objections to how the Senate measure handled that issue and is working on reconciliation-compliant language that he hopes will be included in the bill.
Other Democrats said they wanted to make sure their states did not get treated unfairly under Medicaid reimbursement rules in the Senate package.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.