Back in November 2009, when the House passed its version of Obamacare, I wrote that Nancy Pelosi had obtained victory at the cost of planting an abortion land mine in the form of the Stupak Amendment.
No Stupak Amendment, no House “Yes” vote in November.
The game played was that the language would be modified in the Senate, thereby securing pro-choice votes in the House to whom the Stupak Amendment was anathema.
The Senate played along, and modified the Stupak Amendment language.
Now the ball is back in the House. Stupak is standing firm, so far, that no Stupak Amendment language, no “Yes” vote.
Pelosi still seems to need Stupak because she still is courting his vote, and those of his block of (depending whom you ask) 6-10 House members.
There is a further problem, however, which is that changes in the Senate abortion language will not pass via reconciliation, and even if such a change could pass in that manner, there would be a full-out revolt among pro-choice Senators.
Firedoglake is reporting that Stupak and Pelosi have come to an agreement on a means of passing Stupak language without having to go the reconciliation route. The details are somewhat complicated, but there would be an attempt to use a Concurrent Resolution.
I have no idea if this alleged Concurrent Resolution deal really is a deal, or if the procedure would work. We may find out at Stupak’s 11 a.m. press conference today.
The reaction to such a deal will be screams of anger, and maybe a loss of numerous votes in the House, from pro-choice advocates.
Pelosi sold out her base to get passage of a bill in November, and now is preparing (allegedly) to sell out her base again through procedural maneuvers to get Stupak his language in order to pass a Senate bill her base hates.
Pelosi could have avoided this land mine by scaling back the sweeping restructuring and starting with consensus reforms which would have had Republican and popular support, in which case the issue of abortion would have been irrelevant. But that would have been so not her.
We’ll find out pretty soon if the land mine will go “boom.” It it does, chalk it up to Pelosi’s ego and hubris.
Update 11:00 a.m. – Stupak has postponed his scheduled press conference. Deal or no deal? Maybe Pelosi doesn’t need him, or maybe she can’t cut a deal which will fly with the pro-choice members. A Stupak spokeswoman says “discussions are continuing.”
Update 12:54 p.m. – No deal. Stupak “done with” Pelosi. So what does it mean?