Update: Pelosi Still Courting Stupak; Pro-Choice Dems Threaten to Kill the Bill

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Posted: Mar 19, 2010 11:01 PM
In an attempt to court Rep. Bart Stupak and his merry band of pro-lifers, Nancy Pelosi may be considering a possible compromise--a thought that apparently angers a number of pro-choice members who are threatening to kill the bill if Stupak gets his way.  From CNN:

Washington (CNN) - The divisive issue of abortion is once again causing eleventh hour problems for House Democrats as they plan to move forward on health care reform.

Anti-abortion Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan is asking for a vote on his language restricting taxpayer funding for abortion, and a group of female abortion rights Democrats came out of an emergency meeting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office Friday evening visibly angry about the prospect.

Rep. Diana Degette, D-Colorado, told reporters a vote on Stupak's measure was a "non starter" and said "somewhere between 40 and 55" abortion rights Democrats would bolt from the bill.

"We are holding firm this time," she insisted. "If Mr. Stupak and a few members along with the Republicans decide to use this to take health care down, that loss of health care will be in their hands."

It's not yet clear how seriously Democratic leaders are considering allowing a vote on Stupak's abortion language, or in what form.

But Stupak told CNN he is in discussions with Pelosi.

"We had a good discussion with the speaker on the floor," said Stupak. "But there was no agreement and there's no agreement until we see it in writing and we get a chance to massage it."

It's unclear how many pro-life votes Stupak's group commands, but seemingly enough to keep Pelosi interested in brokering a deal. 

Update: Jane Hamsher at FireDogLake claims to have secured a copy of an agreement between Stupak and Pelosi.  According to Hamsher, Pelosi has agreed to let Stupak have a vote on his amendment either before or after the House votes on the Senate bill. 
Stupak is confident that he has the votes to pass the measure, and is happy to have the vote after the House passes the Senate bill.He believes that by using a “tie bar” approach, his amendment would be “tied” to the health care bill — which would require just 51 votes in the Senate.

Pro-choice members of the House, however, are demanding that the vote on the Concurrent Resolution happen before the House confirms the Senate bill. If in fact it passes, they plan to vote against confirming the Senate bill. They want Rep. Diana Degette to release the names of the 41 cosigners to her letter who pledged to vote against any bill that restricts a woman’s right to choose, and they are angry that the White House has been whipping to push through the Stupak deal.

Stay tuned as this 11th hour Dem roadblock develops and we hear from Rep. Stupak at 11a.m.  One thing is for certain: It would be an interesting case of sweet justice if Democrats killed  their own health care legislation...