WASHINGTON, D.C., March 20, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A desperate compromise attempt by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to snatch up the votes of pro-life Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) appears to have disintegrated under intense pressure from pro-abortion lobbyists, various sources report Saturday.
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The dramatic bid reportedly fell apart one day before the House's final vote on the Senate health care bill scheduled for Sunday.
Capitol Hill sources reported Friday that Stupak was in dialogue with Pelosi over allowing a vote on the Stupak language, which would bar federal funding of abortion after the pattern of the Hyde amendment, in a vote "tie-barred" to the health bill vote.
Stupak seemed to be giving Speaker Pelosi an offer she couldn't refuse: her nail-biting search for 216 votes - the minimum needed for the bill's passage - has so far come up just short, according to various whip counts. Even should she sway all the "undecideds" to her side, she would reportedly have only 214 votes if she is unable to peel any more off the small band of pro-life Democrats held together by Stupak.
Yet, a furious cadre of pro-abortion women descended upon the Speaker's office Friday evening to inform her that as many as 40-55 "yes" votes would jump ship should she abandon the abortion funding embedded in the bill. When the House voted in the Stupak language last year, pro-aborts had reluctantly agreed - but vowed to ensure the language would be removed for a final vote.
"We are holding firm this time," Rep. Diana Degette, D-CO, told reporters Friday. "If Mr. Stupak and a few members along with the Republicans decide to use this to take health care down, that loss of health care will be in their hands."
A press conference Stupak and his group had scheduled for Saturday morning was abruptly postponed, although no reason was given. Stupak spokesperson Michelle Begnoche said later that "discussions are continuing," according to Politico.
UPDATE (2:01pm EST): Pelosi has confirmed that there will be no separate vote for abortion language. National Review Onlinereports, however, that Pelosi continues to meet with members of the Stupak band, specifically Reps. Driehaus (D-OH) and Dahlkemper (D-Penn.), who said they were "still working on" the issue. Meanwhile, according to NRO, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says he is working on an executive order involving "Stupak-like" language to appease the group.
UPDATE 2 (2:52pm EST): Politico reports that the House will abandon the controversial "deem and pass" solution, and will instead vote on the actual Senate health care bill Sunday.
FireDogLake.com listed eleven "undecideds": Brian Baird (D - WA), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Glenn Nye (D-VA), John Tanner (D-TN), Melissa Bean (D-IL), Chris Carney (D-PA), Bill Foster (D-IL), Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), Solomon Ortiz (D-TX), Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), Zack Space (D-OH), Mike Michaud (D-ME). Bill Owens (D-NY) has come out as a "yes" vote, it was reported Saturday morning.
Currently, there are 11 confirmed members of Stupak's band - which, under unrelenting pressure, has reportedly seen many leave and others join the ranks in recent days. They are: Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Marion Berry (D-Ark.), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Penn.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Steve Driehaus (D-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Nick Rahall (D-WV).
Earlier this week, Stupak said that he was undergoing a "living hell" over his opposition to the abortion-expanding bill, and complained of lobbyists threatening to take out "ethics complaints" against him should he not switch his vote.