Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a Stupak supporter though officially still undecided on the Senate bill, on Thursday urged Pelosi to hold a separate vote reaffirming the stricter House approach to the matter. I want to be constructive, she said. We have to find a way to work it out. But abortion rights supporters rejected the proposal out of hand. Were not going to do that, said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), co-chairwoman of the Pro-Choice Caucus. We dont know it would die in the Senate. The stakes are too high.The threat of another social debate derailing reform fizzled on Thursday when Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who was officially opposed to the latest incarnation of the overhaul on account of tougher immigration language, announced his support. The Chicago Democrat had signaled as much on Wednesday, when he said he was taking a macro approach to his vote and suggested he could come around if Obama gave him assurances that the administration would push for comprehensive immigration reform in short order.His announcement came as the full Congressional Hispanic Caucus announced its endorsement of the health care bill.I cannot see that voting against this health care bill is going to bring us any closer to comprehensive immigration reform, Gutierrez said. I do see that a success and a victory on health care will allow this president to be strengthened and to be able to carry out with more political capital our ultimate goal.Leaders scrambled, meanwhile, to defend their preferred procedural strategy for passing the bill. The "Slaughter Solution" by which Democrats would avoid a separate vote on the politically unpopular Senate version by deeming it passed once they approve a package of fixes has become a focus of Republican attacks this week. And the GOP sought to put Democrats on record defending the maneuver on Thursday with a privileged resolution that would have forced an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill. Democrats turned it back, but not without some heartburn in moderate ranks. And aides said the procedural path forward remained an open question after Republicans appeared to have connected with their withering criticism of the deem and pass method.Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.
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.