Brian Beutler reports that Rep. Bart Stupak just told reporters on Capitol Hill he is working with the White House on language handling abortion.
“There is no agreement, so until there’s agreement I’m a no vote,” Stupak (D-MI) said as he walked from the House floor to the office buildings. Earlier today news reports suggested Stupak had flipped to support the bill, but he’s saying he’s not in.
The negotiations are critical as Stupak still holds a (shrinking) coalition of pro-life Democrats together against the bill. He said he has “pretty close” to 8 members standing with him. Brian asked how important the Catholic bishops are to the process.“This decision will be determined by members. Not by any group,” he said. He would not answer a question about whether there is discussion about making the Hyde amendment banning federal funding for abortions a permanent fixture. “I’m not going there,” Stupak said.
Brian asked if Stupak was close to an agreement when he abruptly canceled a press conference yesterday. “One step forward, two back,” he said. Brian asked if it has moved forward again. “Half a step–so we’re only going back one and three quarter steps,” he said.
As Brian has been reporting, abortion remains a major issue standing in the way of the final passage of the bill. Several Democrats told him yesterday that leadership has been discussing the possibility of President Obama issuing an executive order on abortion upon signing the bill.
Today’s vote is still not a done deal, but we are being told that leadership is telling members the votes are there.