On Monday, I noted that 40 Democrats had voted for the Stupak amendment–which would prohibit low- and middle-class women from buying health insurance policies that cover abortion–and then voted for final passage of the health care bill. That’s a large number, but a key question remained unanswered: How many of those 40 would have voted against the final bill if the Stupak amendment had failed, or not been given a vote?
Well, House Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) has some answers.“It was not 40 votes that we were trying to get with this amendment it was 10 votes. And that’s the fact,” Clyburn said on MSNBC. “This language took us across the threshold of 218, but it was 10 people. It wasn’t 40 people as has been reported.”
Clyburn said that, without Stupak, there would have only been around 212 votes for the final bill, suggesting that, if the Stupak amendment is stripped in conference, House leaders will only need to convince a handful or two of Democrats to put their pro-life views aside and vote for the final legislation. That’s significantly less than the 40-plus progressives who now say they will oppose the bill if the Stupak language stands.
Other Democrats also voted for Stupak amendment, but then turned around and voted against the final bill. Their objections run deeper than abortion issues, and presumably won’t vote to pass the conference report unless the plan is dramatically changed in negotiations with the Senate.
Late update: Video below.