.- As Senate Democrats attempt to reach a compromise with Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) on the health care bill, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) has sent him a proposal in an attempt to assuage his concerns that the current bill allows taxpayer funds to be used to pay for abortions. Sen. Nelson has responded that the proposal âisn't sufficient.â
In a statement released today, Nelson said that although the compromise from Sen. Casey âadds important new initiatives addressing teen pregnancy and tax credits to help with adoptions ... as it is, without modifications, the language concerning abortion is not sufficient.â These concerns were relayed to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the statement added.
Senator Nelson further explained that the compromise âdoes not yet ensure that a longstanding federal standard barring public funding of abortion would be maintained in the Senate health care bill the Senate has been debating this month.â
âThis is not an issue where you can split the difference. Thatâs what makes it so challenging,â Nelson told KLIN radio.
Casey's proposed compromise language is an attempt to garner the needed votes in the Senate to pass the health care bill.
Sen. Nelson reiterated that he will not support a vote for cloture, which would end debate on the Senate health care bill, as long as âcertain languageâ remains in it.
Besides encouraging adoption and supporting pregnant mothers, pro-life groups briefed on the proposal told the Associated Press that one provision would allow citizens to prevent their premiums from paying for abortion.
However, it is unclear what Casey's compromise says exactly. âIt (the proposed compromise) does not address what the fight has been about,â Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) told CNA.
Noting that Casey's office has not released the language of the proposed compromise to the NRLC or anyone else, Johnson said, âSenator Casey is trying to wrap up a deal on language without actually showing actual bill language to us or to other interested citizen groups.â
The obscure language is part of a âstealth-legislation project on behalf of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is writing a massive manager's amendmentâan extensive rewrite to the entire health care billâbehind closed doors,â Johnson said.
âIf Reid gets his way, the first time the public will see the abortion language âor any of the rest of the manager's amendmentâwill be when the new package is slapped down on the Senate clerk's desk along with a cloture petition, which means: take it or leave it,â Johnson charged.