Definite vote next week on Senate health care bill, abortion language unchanged

.- A confidential source says that House Democrats have been told there will “definitely” be a vote next week on the Senate’s health care reform bill but its abortion language is unchanged. Speculation also continues on how many pro-life Democrats will approve the Senate bill. According to a House Democrat who was present at a Friday meeting called by Nancy Pelosi and asked to remain anonymous, members have been told to be prepared to stay in next weekend and through the following week until the vote happens.

The House rule governing the vote would reportedly be closed. It would allow one vote on the Senate health care reform bill which would include the reconciliation provisions and amendments.

“The Senate bill vote is not separate, it is wrapped into the single vote - when members vote for or against the reconciliation package they will also be voting for or against the Senate-passed health reform bill,” CNA’s source explained. “Once passed, the Senate bill will go to the president for signing, and the reconciliation provisions will go to the Senate where they will need to pass unchanged.”

The House member said that although the leadership has not yet shared the legislative language, the abortion language “has not been changed from the Senate bill.”

The reconciliation package has reportedly deleted the so-called “Cornhusker kickback” and the “Gator deal,” special provisions for Nebraska and Florida. However, a $300 million deal for Louisiana, nicknamed the “Louisiana Purchase,” still remains in the bill, and a hospital in Connecticut will still receive $100 million.

The question of whether or not Pelosi has the votes remains close, but most lawmakers think she is close. The administration and leadership are expected to roll out the details this weekend, or Monday at the latest, the lawmaker said.

Twelve Congressmen are believed to oppose the Senate health care bill because of its abortion funding. In addition to Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Joseph Cao (R-Louisiana), they include ten Democrats. They are Illinois Reps. Jerry Costello and Dan Lipinski; Indiana Reps. Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth; Michigan Rep. Dale Kildee; Minnesota Rep. Jim Oberstar; Pennsylvania Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper; and Ohio Reps. Steve Driehaus, Marcy Kaptur, and Charlie Wilson.

Additionally, Pennsylvania Rep. Jason Altmire and Ohio Rep. John Boccieri are both Democrats who voted no on the House bill but yes on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. They are now considered to be “wavering.”

Their votes and the votes of at least nine other pro-life Democratic Congressmen could play a key role in the House’s decision on the Senate bill.

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