House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made a deal with Rep. Bart Stupak in order to secure his vote and that of other anti-choice Democrats for the health care bill, which is scheduled to be voted on this Sunday. According to a member of Congress who was briefed on the matter, Pelosi has agreed to let Stupak have a vote on his amendment either before or after the House votes to pass the Senate bill. It instructs the Senate to substitute the language in his amendment for the Senate language on abortion...
The deal calls for Stupak to have a vote on his amendment either before or after the House votes to confirm the Senate bill on Sunday. 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” measure, his amendment would be “tied” to the health care bill — which would require just 51 votes in the Senate.
FDL has a copy of the amendment text.
However, according to David Dayen, the type of deal is very obscure and there's a lot of uncertainty about the procedural mechanisms for it. Is it the best bet for anti-abortion Democrats? Here's one expert's take:
The question here seems to come down to how this is presented. Does this enrollment correction get tucked into the reconciliation bill and then “deemed” (there’s that word again) passed by the Senate? Would it have to be a stand-alone measure? What about the Byrd rule?
I asked Sarah Binder, a parliamentary expert and a professor at George Washington University, about all this. She doesn’t quite think it’s possible. Specifically, she says that “any enrollment corrections resolution considered to be more than a technical correction would need unanimous consent (in the Senate) to be adopted.” Failing that, it could possibly run through a cloture vote, basically 60 votes in the Senate. But if it’s inside the reconciliation process, then one Senator merely can challenge the language of one line of the bill and get the concurrent resolution ordered out of the sidecar.
This could get very very messy. Will Stupak and his crew really want to sell their votes for this? Time will tell...
UPDATE: The fact that this deal is even being contemplated shows how weak Pelosi's position is currently: she needs these votes, she thinks. Meanwhile, the Pro-Choice Caucus is threatening to take their toys (and their votes) and leave the pro-Senate bill camp if the deal passes.