Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., who is leading a coalition of anti-abortion Democrats standing in the way of party leadership efforts to pass a health bill, signaled Monday that the impasse may be close to resolution. The Associated Press
: Stupak "said he expects to resume talks with House leaders this week in a quest for wording that would impose no new limits on abortion rights but also would not allow use of federal money for the procedure. ''I'm more optimistic than I was a week ago,' Stupak told The Associated Press between meetings with constituents in his northern Michigan district. ... 'The president says he doesn't want to expand or restrict current law (on abortion). Neither do I,' Stupak said. "'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'" (Flesher, 3/8).
In an explainer on the issue, The Associated Press
reports that President Obama's health proposal "would change federal policy on abortion, but not open the spigot of taxpayer dollars that some abortion opponents fear" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/9). The Hill
: "The Stupak abortion language is unlikely to be included in the final measure, leading some House committee chairmen to hold back their votes" (Cusack and Young, 3/8). CongressDaily
: "Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., became the second Democrat Monday to publicly join Stupak against any bill that does not include the House's abortion language, appropriately dubbed the Stupak amendment. Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., previously did so. Stupak says he has 11 members with him who do not believe the Senate language goes far enough." Stupak is trying to reach an agreement on the abortion language with House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (Edney, 3/9).