Stupak Blames Pelosi for Cutting Off Abortion Talks

Posted March 20, 2010 at 12:53pm

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said his talks with leadership have broken down after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) refusal to allow a separate vote on his strict anti-abortion-rights amendment to the health care reform package.

“If they’re done talking, they’re done talking. Then report that she broke it off,” he said. Stupak said he also is not in talks with the White House.

“I’ve done all the proposals. I’ve laid out procedures, and I know of no other way. So if they want our votes, they have to work with us,” he said. “We’re missing a discussion.”

Stupak said he continues to oppose the bill and believes leaders lack the votes to pass the measure without the support from his group. He said he has presented options to leadership that would not require a separate vote on his language but declined to specify what those are.

Pelosi told reporters earlier that she would not allow votes on abortion or any other issues, and she has been meeting with small groups of Stupak’s supporters, including Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.), Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) and Christopher Carney (D-Pa.).

Carney said he would announce his vote later today.

Dahlkemper said that Members are still trying to resolve the abortion issue.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who co-chairs the Pro-Choice Caucus, said that it is her understanding that there are no more negotiations on changing the abortion language, although there has been talk of an executive order clarifying further that no federal funds can be used to pay for abortions.

DeGette also said she believes her party will have the votes to pass the reform measure even without reaching a deal with Stupak.

But despite Pelosi’s pledge not to have a separate vote on abortion, Democrats still need to ensure that they will win a vote against a Republican motion to recommit, which could potentially be used to bring the divisive abortion issue to the floor.

DeGette added that Stupak’s earlier demand for a separate vote on an enrolling resolution would have effectively killed the bill because he wanted language ensuring that the underlying Senate bill could not become law unless the Senate agreed to the abortion language first.