Per MSNBC, Bart Stupak has agreed to language in an executive order that would satisfy his block. He had called a press conference at 12:30, but has now canceled it. The seven Democrats left in his block will vote “yes.”
Details of what the order will contain are not known. Yesterday the Washington Post said that “it is likely at the very least to restate Obama’s commitment to upholding the Hyde Amendment.”
Right now, the Hyde Amendment has to be renewed each year in the Appropriations bill. Having a Democratic President state it in the form of an Executive Order would be quite a coup for anti-abortion activists.
But Stupak has been after more than just Hyde. The health care bill contains $10 billion for Bernie Sanders’ community clinics, which would begin immediately rather than waiting until 2014. Planned Parenthood had pledged their support for the bill with the knowledge that much of that money would be going to their clinics, but would not be used for abortion services. However Stupak has pursuing the agenda of American’s United for Life, who want a commitment that no money go toward Planned Parenthood clinics regardless of what it is used for.
It’s possible that the Stupak block were just looking for a graceful way out, an excuse to drop their fight and vote for the bill without looking to the anti-abortion community that they just gave in to political pressure. But until the language of the executive order is released publicly, nobody will know.
Rep. Diana DeGette agreed to support the executive order yesterday on behalf of the pro-choice caucus. DeGette has still not released the 41 names of those who signed her letter saying they “would not vote for a conference report that contains language that restricts women’s right to choose any further than current law,” even though the language in the Senate bill most certainly does that.
Imagine what today would look like if progressives in the House had held their ground like the unions or the anti-abortion Democrats. As Armando notes, “It actually stands as a testament to the ineptitude of progressives. Fighting for a very popular initiative, they still could not muster a bargaining strategy that could work.”
Join us at 2pm today when debate iof the bill will begin in the House. It will proceed for 2 hours and then be stopped for the vote. After the House votes on the Senate bill, there will immediately be a vote on the reconciliation “fix.” We’ll be live blogging.