Following his remarks last week that he and his colleagues are prepared to strike down health care reform if it provides federal funding for abortion, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said on Monday that he is “more optimistic” than he was a week ago regarding legislative negotiations.
“The president says he doesn't want to expand or restrict current law (on abortion). Neither do I,” Stupak told the Associated Press on Monday. “That's never been our position. So is there some language that we can agree on that hits both points – we don't restrict, we don't expand abortion rights? I think we can get there.”
Although Rep. Stupak is satisfied with the current House bill, given his amendment to it that prevents federally funding abortions, he has been vocal in his opposition to the Senate bill. The representative stated on Feb. 23 that the Senate bill is “unacceptable” on the issue of abortion.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told ABC's “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that although President Obama “will keep his promise” on finding a solution to the issue of federally funded abortions, ultimately, “This is not a bill about abortion. This is about health care reform.”
Democratic political analyst and author Mark Stricherz explained the current situation of the health care bill to CNA on Tuesday and the importance of Rep. Stupak's coalition, saying, “The bottom line is that Pelosi needs Stupak's supporters to pass health-care reform. She doesn't have the votes any other way.”
“Now, she doesn't want to alienate the pro-choicers. So that's why she, Hoyer, and Stupak are working on language that's more conservative than Nelson's in the Senate but a bit more liberal than Stupak's. How they thread that needle is anyone's guess,” Stricherz said.