Posted by: Nate Nelson | November 7, 2009

What if House Republicans Abstain?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made it quite clear that she has no interest in making health care reform a bipartisan effort. The problem is that the House health care bill has been pushed so far to the left that Pelosi is forced to pull out all the stops just to ensure that enough members of her own caucus vote for the bill.

One major point of contention has been on the issue of abortion funding. Blue Dog Democrats have expressed opposition to any bill that funds abortion. This problem seems to have been solved by the Stupak amendment, which would prevent any federal dollars from funding abortion either through the public option or the insurance exchange. If the Stupak amendment passes, it will likely make it easier for Pelosi to convince enough members of her caucus to vote for her reform bill.

But what if Republicans abstain from voting on the Stupak amendment?

If Republicans abstain, it is extremely unlikely that Blue Dog Democrats will be able to marshal enough Democratic support for the Stupak amendment for it to pass. Speaker Pelosi wants a partisan bill with a robust public option. Republicans will vote against the bill, but their best chance of actually seeing the bill killed might be to let Speaker Pelosi have her abortion funding. She wanted a Democratic bill. Maybe Republicans should let her have what she wants.

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