Harry Reid and Queen Nancy may want to pay attention to this before they claim victory.
With final negotiations on a health care overhaul beginning this week, complaints about “the evil Stupak amendment,” as the congressman dryly called it over dinner here recently, are likely to grow even louder. The amendment prevents women who receive federal insurance subsidies from buying abortion coverage — but critics assert it could cause women who buy their own insurance difficulty in obtaining coverage.
Mr. Stupak insists that the final bill include his terms, which he says merely reflect current law. If he prevails, he will have won an audacious, counterintuitive victory, forcing a Democratic-controlled Congress to pass a measure that will be hailed as an anti-abortion triumph. If party members do not accept his terms — and many vow they will not — Mr. Stupak is prepared to block passage of the health care overhaul.
“It’s not the end of the world if it goes down,” he said over dinner.He did not sound downbeat about the prospect of being blamed for blocking the long-sought goal of President Obama and a chain of presidents and legislators before him. “Then you get the message,” he continued. “Fix the abortion language and bring the bill back.”
Stupak appears to be more committed than ever to block the bill should the abortion provision previously approved in the House version be altered.
Now the disagreement over abortion financing has become a game of chicken, with Mr. Stupak saying he and 10 or 11 others, whom he would not name, will vote against a final bill that does not meet his standards, and some backers of abortion rights threatening to do the same in what is expected to be a close vote.
Stupak isn’t playing around here. He feels as left out of the negotiations as a C-Span camera.
Could abortion derail the whole thing?