A new health care bill proposed by President Obama Monday threatens to expand abortion even more drastically than the health care bills stymied in Congress over the past several months, says the National Right to Life Committee.
The White House is threatening to ram the proposal through the Senate on a 51-vote majority using a tactic known as budget reconciliation. The process circumvents the need for a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority by placing the health care overhaul under the heading of a “budget” bill.
“Any member of Congress who votes for the final legislation proposed by President Obama will be voting for direct federal funding of elective abortion through Community Health Centers, and also an array of other pro-abortion federal subsidies and mandates,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson in a statement Monday.
Johnson pointed out that the earlier Senate bill was itself “the most expansively pro-abortion bill ever brought to the floor of either house of Congress since Roe v. Wade.” That bill was brought to a screeching halt in January, thanks to the unexpected victory of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown, who handed Senate Republicans the one vote needed to maintain a filibuster.
Among the president’s proposed “targeted set of changes to” the Senate bill, Johnson said, none “diminish any of the sweeping pro-abortion problems in the Senate bill, and he actually proposes to increase the funds that would be available to directly subsidize abortion procedures (through Community Health Centers) and to subsidize private health insurance that covers abortion (through the premium-subsidy tax credits program).”
“If all of the President’s changes were made,” said Johnson, “the resulting legislation would allow direct federal funding of abortion on demand through Community Health Centers, would institute federal subsidies for private health plans that cover abortion on demand (including some federally administered plans), and would authorize federal mandates that would require even non-subsidized private plans to cover elective abortion.”
(A letter from NRLC to lawmakers detailing the multiple pro-abortion components of the Senate bill is available here.)
Meanwhile, despite Obama’s bipartisan health care summit set for broadcast Thursday, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer indicated Monday that Democrats were ultimately willing to push the bill through reconciliation with zero Republican help.
While the White House has “made no determinations on which process to move forward with,” he said, “Our proposal is designed to give ourselves maximum flexibility to ensure that we can get an up or down vote if the opposition decides to take the extraordinary step of filibustering health reform.”
Republicans, and even some Democrats, are skeptical that the Thursday summit will amount to anything more than political theatre.
“I’m not certain what the White House is up to, but it appears they are trying to meld a bill together without, again, any input from Republicans,” said Republican Georgia Rep. Tom Price, according to Politico. Price was not invited to the health care talks at Blair House on Thursday.
“It doesn’t sound like bipartisanship. … I’m afraid it’s just another photo op.”