Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has put the kibosh on Rep. Bart Stupaks (D-Mich.) push for another vote on his anti-abortion amendment to the health care reform package.
Pelosi told reporters on Saturday there will be no separate votes on any proposed changes to the package at this point: Not on abortion, not on public option, not on single payer, not on anything, she said.
Democratic leaders have been in talks with Stupak about a complicated procedure that would give him a vote on his language but likely result in the Senates less stringent abortion language still becoming law. But abortion-rights supporters have vigorously resisted any accommodation to Stupak and his allies a critical bloc of votes that leaders are courting to put the health package over the top.
It is not clear whether leaders are still in talks with Stupak to find another fix through an executive order, for example or believe they can muster a majority without his support. Stupak this morning postponed indefinitely an 11 a.m. press conference he had scheduled. And Pelosi signaled Democrats remain on track for a final vote Sunday.
Likewise, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who co-chairs the Pro-Choice Caucus and is a Chief Deputy Whip, said Democrats will have the votes without Stupak. She said she has been in talks with other members of his group and predicted a number which she declined to specify will peel off and support passage.
A lot of those Members really want to vote for health care reform, and they dont want to have federal funding for abortions, and they understand our perspective that weve already negotiated and agreed to that, DeGette said.
Democrats, DeGette added, are very close to rounding up the 216 votes they need to pass the bill. We think we can pass the bill, she said.
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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