House defeats GOP motion to revive abortion issue
By Ben Pershing
The House rejected Republicans' last procedural shot at derailing health-reform Sunday, defeating a GOP motion designed to split Democrats on abortion.
The Republican "motion to recommit" would have sent the package of reconciliation fixes back to committee with instructions to add the antiabortion language previously promoted by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and included in the original House bill. The measure failed, 199 to 232, with 21 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote with the GOP -- 13 fewer than had just voted with Republicans on the Senate health bill.
Stupak and a coalition of antiabortion Democrats struck a deal with party leaders and the White House on Sunday on an executive order reaffirming that federal funds would not be spent on abortion, clearing the way for those lawmakers to vote "aye" on the Senate health bill and the package of "fixes."
Because of that agreement, many antiabortion Democrats were not persuaded to cross the aisle and support the Republican motion.
"This motion does not promote life," Stupak said during debate, arguing that Democrats' reform bill would improve the lives of everyone from babies to the elderly.
GOP leaders did not expect the motion to recommit to pass. But the exercise still has value for the minority, which typically uses such motions on the campaign trail to accuse vulnerable members of the majority of voting against popular items.
March 21, 2010; 11:29 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing , Health Care
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