Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she's feeling positive that a controversial abortion amendment found in the House-passed health care bill won't derail reform if and when a bill leaves the Senate.
"I'm optimistic we'll find common ground," she told reporters this morning. "This is not a bill about abortion, this is a bill about health care."
The Senate reform package which made its debut last night doesn't contain the Stupak Amendment language found in the House bill. In her first public comments on the controversy the amendment has created among members of her caucus on both sides of the abortion debate, Pelosi said she sides with pro-choice advocates who say the language in Stupak goes too far.
"Stupak goes beyond maintaining the status quo" on abortion funding, Pelosi said.
Pelosi praised the new Senate bill, which she said has "a great deal in common" with the bill the House passed. She said she expects the bills can be blended in a conference -- and that abortion won't stand in the way of that. She said that House Democrats are in agreement that a final bill will be "abortion-neutral," meaning that it will not make new policy on the practice either way.
"I trust that we will have a resolution of all this," she said, referring to the abortion debate.