The Spectacle Blog

Stupak Bloc: Let’s Get Ready to Crumble

By on 3.19.10 | 12:18PM

Democrats who are self-proclaimed opponents of abortion are seeking a separate House vote on more restrictive abortion language, the Hill reports, signaling that they are looking for a way out, and are prepared to cave.

Discussing this possibility on ABC earlier, Rep. Bart Stupak said that a House vote won't be enough, that he'd need assurances that the bill would be able to pass through the Senate. As we know, that would never happen -- his abortion language garnered only 45 votes in the Senate last December.

While Stupak himself may hold firm, it's possible that holding a meaningless House vote could peel of some of the dozen Democrats he claims are with him. Or at least enough to ensure passage.

For instance, Rep. Nick Rahall "said the remaining opponents were at this point looking for 'some type of language we can rely on in the Senate' and a 'promise [from the Senate] to act in the future.'"

In reality, Rahall -- along with other Democrats in the so-called Stupak bloc -- knows that a "promise" to act from an overwhelmingly pro-choice Senate is worth less than a $1 bill of Monopoly money. Yet in the world of politics, these Democrats would probably claim that they voted for pro-life language in the House, but were screwed over by the Senate -- and that was out of their hands.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was dismissive of the idea in a news conference, but clearly if she needed the votes, she'd allow a vote at the last minute. Remember, the first time around, it wasn't until 2:30 am on the day of the House vote that the Rules Committee agreed agreed to allow the Stupak amendment a chance on the House floor. If Pelosi needs them, she could agree to allow Stupak members a vote, while reassuring liberals that the language wouldn't actually get adopted in the Senate.

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