Bart Stupak: Senate Bill Dead on Arrival

A number of years ago, Gov. Robert Casey warned that health care reform legislation that included public financing of abortion would be “dead on arrival” to Congress. For that very reason as well as several others, the attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system went down in flames.

After the election of now Senator-elect Scott Brown, the Democrats are scrambling to figure out what to do about health care reform and they might have another  pro-life Democrat problem, a Democrat with the spirit of Casey.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) told “if they expect the House to accept the Senate bill, it’s going to go down in flames.” asked Stupak: “Are you prepared to vote for a bill that looks more like the Senate bill – and Senator Nelson’s language on abortion – than the House bill, with your language?” He replied, “No, absolutely not.”

The latest from The Washington Examiner tells the story even better.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., might be the most important man in the House of Representatives at this moment. If Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeks to sneak the Senate’s version of health insurance reform back through the House “as is” for a quick presidential signature, he will be working against her, fighting to restore language from the House-passed bill that prohibits any public funding of abortion.

Today, he appeared on Fox Business Network and declared the Senate bill dead on arrival in the House: “I bet it wouldn’t get a hundred votes.”

Stupak, on the Massachusetts election’s effect on health care:

STUPAK: I think for the party, it’s hopefully a wake-up call to leadership that the agenda you set and the pace you’re going, and you have to be more inclusive of all members….

The Senate bill, and I know leadership has flowed with the idea over the weekend that let’s just take the Senate bill and just vote on it in the House floor. I bet it wouldn’t get a hundred votes. Members are very upset about the Senate bill, and I think that’s what’s led to this — part of this election. I mean, people were disappointed and disillusioned what the Senate did, especially when — especially when it looked like states were paid off for their vote, for that 60th vote. Have we relegated the legislative body to who can get the best deal? You know, this was health care. This legislation should have been based on policy. People should have been able to put their vote up based on policy, not on what did I get for my state. And that really soured the American people and House members. We’re not willing to take that Senate bill, that Nebraska’s guy’s special deal or Louisiana or Florida or whatever. That’s not that way you do it….

On his party’s leadership:

STUPAK: [C]an I use the word “overreached?” They tried to hit a homerun with health care instead of hitting — let’s get a single, let’s get a double. You know, build on this. But they went for the whole grand slam and it got thrown back. It got too big, too controversial, and it’s just like they overreached.

This leadership, both the House, the Senate, and the presidency, I think have to be more in tune to what the people are saying. Yes, we want health care, but don’t give us a 2,600 page bill that no one can understand, that most of the members have never read. They don’t — do health care. Let’s help those who really have difficult times. Let’s — the rescissions, you shouldn’t have your insurance policy cancelled without just cause. Preexisting injuries, why do we still discriminate against people who have preexisting injuries? Can’t we put some kind of caps or lift those caps on there? Why can’t my son stay on my health insurance, if I want, until he’s 26 years old? Why can’t we put a catastrophic fund which industry and businesses have been asking for years? Why can’t the federal government put together catastrophic fund?

Those were provisions that would have taken effect immediately if the House bill would have been signed in law by the president. So those consumer protection ones, the ones that really effect the daily lives for Americans that doesn’t cost a lot of money, doesn’t cost a trillion dollars, why can’t we do that now? So that’s where I’d like to see leadership go with this legislation now…

On the need for a “Plan C” on health care:

STUPAK: Well, last night was still stiff upper lip and we’ll prevail and we’ll make it through Massachusetts. We’re all looking to Jersey. We’re not going to make it through Massachusetts, what’s the backup plan? And if the backup plan was the Senate bill, it was no. There’s no way that bill is going anywhere, so you better start looking at paring back.

And when we left last night, there was a caucus, a Democratic caucus after votes, and it was like, here’s what we’ve done on health care, we’re a lot a closer, we almost got this bill done. And we’re all saying it’s not going to make any difference come Wednesday morning, so where do we go from here. And I’m sure the leadership will be huddling with committee chairs and committee members and come up with a “Plan C”, if you will. Everyone’s talking about Plan B, Plan B is dead. We’re not passing the Senate bill, so you best come up with Plan C now.

On his version of “Plan C:”

STUPAK: I think members are saying, let’s go back. Maybe this — maybe this public option, maybe this exchange is reaching too much. It was hard to explain to people, they’re not — why don’t we just say, look, if you’re under this income, look at this plan that’s already in existence. Why not lower your Medicare down to 55 as opposed to 65? The hardest age group to insure is that 55 to 65-year-old age group. Why not let them come into Medicare a little sooner. How do they pay for it? They still have their income tax on there, that’s how you pay for Medicare, plus the monthly premium, you got to pay your Part B and Part D. So you could do things like that program already exists and the administrative cost on Medicare is 2 to 3 percent. That’s a pretty good deal.

So you can do some things. Just take away the antitrust exemption for insurance companies, just to bring competition. Allow those pools to go across state lines. Why not? I mean, it doesn’t cost anything to say insurance can now offer policies across state line provided two states are offering insurances, the policies are standardized policies….[T]he president, in a way, is sort of set up here to deliver health care. I mean, you have a House plan that the Senate doesn’t necessarily like. You have the Senate plan that the House doesn’t like. So it’s a good opportunity now for the president to say, we’ve heard the American people. Two plans out here competing, I’m taking the best of both parts to put it together in one plan and let’s put in that reconciliation bill that you spoke of. You only need 51 votes in the Senate, we avoid the 60-vote majority rule or filibuster, and present it that way…

On Senator Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who dropped his demands to stop federal abortion funding in ObamaCare in exchange for a special deal for his state:

STUPAK: Throughout the process, I talked a number of times to Senator Nelson. I never really saw his final proposal until maybe the day before they voted on it. And I encouraged him just to hold tough…[W]e not restricting a woman’s right to chose, what we’re saying is no public funding for abortion. You want an abortion, that’s your right, don’t ask us to pay for it. So no public funding for abortion. He should have held on that principle….The Nelson Amendment did a number of different things and got so complicated. I mean, mine’s a two-page amendment. Every time you look at these amendments, whether it’s the Nelson Amendment or the Capps Amendment, which started this whole fight, if you will, they’re all 10 to 12 pages. It’s sort of like when the American people say, wait a minute, there’s no public funding for abortion, you can put that on one page. Why do you need 12 pages to try to explain what you’re doing? Well, because you’ve got this here and this one has to pay this and that. It gets all complicated.

EDSON: Do you think Nelson gave a bit too much in exchange for a Medicaid deal in his state?

STUPAK: …[W]hat Nelson did was representing his state, I understand that. But what Nelson did saying, in the future, Nebraska doesn’t have to pay their share of Medicaid, that’s illegal. It’s unconstitutional. I mean, that’d be like me saying, OK, for my vote on health care, here’s what I want, the people of Michigan won’t all have to pay any federal income tax. We can’t do that. It’s unconstitutional. We all have to pay our fair share of a program like this.

So I’m surprised they gave it to Nelson…[I]t diminished the quality of the health care bill when everyone’s making deals…

20 Responses to Bart Stupak: Senate Bill Dead on Arrival

  1. Rick Lugari says:

    especially when it looked like states were paid off for their vote, for that 60th vote. Have we relegated the legislative body to who can get the best deal? You know, this was health care. This legislation should have been based on policy. People should have been able to put their vote up based on policy, not on what did I get for my state. And that really soured the American people and House members. We’re not willing to take that Senate bill, that Nebraska’s guy’s special deal or Louisiana or Florida or whatever. That’s not that way you do it….

    Bravo Representative Stupak, Bravo!

  2. Eric Brown says:

    He will not, but I swear, this man should mount a primary challenge against President Obama in 2012. I would quit my job and travel all over trying to rack up votes for this man.

  3. Lisa Brown says:

    Eric…I’ll go on the road with ya! As a Michigander now living in Arkansas…I must say I wish I was back in the mitten so I could work for Mr. Stupak! If he had the need to hire a nurse that is…but I’d do this for free! I have read everything I can get my hands on referencing what he is doing for loyal, faithful pro-life Catholics—go Bart!!!

  4. JB says:

    The rumblings are he’s going to run for Governor of MI

  5. Lisa Brown says:

    I’m homesick already…

  6. Elaine Krewer says:

    Somewhere, Bob Casey, Sr. and Henry Hyde must be smiling 🙂

  7. CT says:

    I haven’t liked anything a Democrat has done in a long time. I have so much respect for this man. I don’t agree w/ all his policy goals, but this guy stands on his principles. Bravo.

  8. Donna V. says:

    Yes, Stupak has guts and principles – qualities sorely lacking in many pols of both parties these days. I respect him very much.

  9. Donna V. says:

    It’s possible we don’t know the name of the GOP contender in 2012 yet. How many of you had ever heard of Obama before the ’04 Dem convention?

    One candidate I am liking more and more is Rubio in Florida, who is challenging Crist. Strong conservative and -unlike Brown, he’s pro-life. His parents fled Cuba in the early ’60’s, so he’s not only innoculated against the “white male racist” charge, but he’s also a rebuke to all those on the left who still think Fidel is the bee’s knees. Well, he’s got to win his Senate race first – and maybe 2012 will be too soon for a Presidential run (if he even has presidential ambitions), but he is certainly someone worth keeping an eye on.

  10. Donna V. says:

    I’m sorry – my second comment above should have been posted in the other thread about possible challengers in 2012. I don’t know how I ended up back here (I’m not drinking, I swear:)

  11. Ron says:

    I will be going to Adoration at 3 am this morning. I will be praying for Mr. Stupak, that he have the strength to stick with his convictions. He is everything that used to be good about the Democrat party. If he can hold out against the mounting pressure of Pelosi and company, he has my support for whatever political office he may seek. God bless Mr. Stupak and his family.

  12. Joe Hargrave says:

    Stupak is an inspiration to us all.

    The fact that he is a Democrat, and is holding other pro-life Democrats in line as well, should really give the whole pro-life movement pause. It should show that the movement does not need to be beholden to the Republican Party exclusively.

    I think pro-choice politics are worn out and vulnerable. I think pro-choice Dems are vulnerable to challenges by pro-life Dems in certain parts of the country. Now is the time for an offensive.

  13. Maybe Brown won’t stick to his guns…


    “We’re past campaign mode: I think it’s important for everyone to get some form of health care,” Brown told a news conference Wednesday morning. “So to offer a basic plan for everybody I think is important. It’s just a question of whether we’re going to raise taxes, we’re going to cut a half at trillion from Medicare, we’re going to affect veterans’ care. I think we can do it better.”

    Step 1 done.

  14. afl says:

    Once a great theologian told us to be careful when we replace someone in authority as they could be worse than the person replaced or words to that effect. ( St Thomas Aquinas)

    I very pleased Brown won, however, we need to see how he votes and if DC charms him as power corrupts and he lives up to the character displayed to date.

  15. AFL

    Do you include his Cosmo-porn as part of that great character? He certainly displayed it!

  16. Donna V. says:

    Henry Karlson: I saw the “Cosmo-porn” – it’s really rather mild stuff. I can’t stand Cosmo, but nothing that you can’t see on any public beach was on display.

    Abandoning a young woman to her death or ensuring that an innocent man (Amirault) continues to suffer seem to me rather more serious offenses than posing for Cosmo with a strategically placed forearm in place. But that’s just me.

  17. Donna

    All sin starts with mild things; and I find the porn-angels of Victoria’s secret to be just as disturbing as men going naked for the women (or other men, as many models do).

    The point is that when dealing with issues of character, his Cosmo-porn shows a distinct lack of it, especially since he doesn’t seem to repudiate it.

    On the other hand, most politicians lack character. That’s nearly a requirement to get into power.

  18. Mike Petrik says:

    It is likely that Brown does regret the silly photo, but a public repudiation would have been impolitic since it would have called attention to it and given it a weight that it didn’t warrant, unless of course you are a Dem just trying to score feckless debating points by asserting the importance of moral purity.

  19. Eric Brown says:

    Actually that goes for both sides. If the Democrat had taken such a photo, I cannot imagine Republicans not trying to “score feckless debating points.”

  20. Lisa Brown says:

    Joe…Amen. This is all very timely. Gosh…what can we do to further his *our* cause? I have a strong feeling about the abortion topic in our country…I am right there with our local Rosary gatherers in front of the abortion clinic in my town (by the way, this guy has been featured on Nightline…he’s very well-known)…but I’ve prayed so many times about what I can actually DO about it. I do pray, and I do support everything tangible (monetary support, pregnancy crisis centers, Madonna House, etc)…but I feel like the Holy Spirit lately is leading me in a different direction. I now have come to believe that our prayer and public attention need to be focused on the women and young girls who are actually receiving services of an abortion provider. Our Women’s Fellowship supports several pregnancy crisis centers and we’ve done our homework. Middle to upper class white girls, aged 16-21 are the main consumers of the abortion provider. Funny how the pro-choicers who are so into “women’s health” are not the ones affected by abortion in our area, for the most part. We have a very high percentage of Hispanic people in our area, however these young girls are not the norm at the abortion clinic. Young black females in our town have a very low percentage rate of pregnancy termination. So, being the parent of a 14 year-old white female, you bet I’ll be doing alot of education for the next several years. I want to further explore the feelings behind the young girl who feels she “must” have an abortion…these young girls, by report years later, state they felt trapped so tight they felt the only way out was to “fix” the problem they created. If that’s the mindset we’ve constructed as we’ve raised our girls, then it’s time to adjust our approach to child rearing. Look at the statistics…these girls are obviously at an age where short-term decisions rule their lives. These women have several things in common, but nearly ALL of them say they knew they weren’t capable of making such a permanent decision at their young ages. This, my fellow faithful, is where we need to go with halting abortion…straight to the heart of the problem. If we could find creative and loving ways of changing the hearts and minds of young women as they step into “adulthood”, we have the power to work the abortion provider right out of a job.

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