Healthcare reform would lower deficit by $130 billion over 10 years
House leaders made that announcement about the healthcare reform legislation, citing a forthcoming report from the Congressional Budget Office.
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“I know I have to make a decision, not on the bill as I would like to see it, but the bill as it is,” he said in a Wednesday-morning announcement. Representative Kucinich, one of 39 Democrats who voted against the House version of healthcare reform on Nov. 7, 2009, says that he still favors a single-payer system but also recognizes the “transformational potential” of the Obama presidency.Skip to next paragraph
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“I have taken a detour through supporting this bill, but I know the destination I will continue to lead, for as long as it takes, whatever it takes, to an America where healthcare will be firmly established as a civil right,” he added.
Democratic leaders are also focused on ensuring that the 42 yes votes from social conservatives in November don’t flip to no because the language banning the funding of abortions is weaker than it was in the House version. Some dozen Democrats could break with leaders on this issue, Rep. Bart Stupak (D) of Michigan has said.
On March 17, the heads of most Catholic women’s religious orders in the United States released a letter calling on members of Congress to “cast a life-affirming ‘yes’ vote” when the Senate healthcare bill comes to the floor of the House.
“We have witnessed firsthand the impact of our national health care crisis, particularly its impact on women, children and people who are poor,” they wrote. They disputed “false” claims that the bill will provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions, a position taken by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments – $250 million – in support of pregnant women. This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it,” they wrote.
Capitol Hill is awash in “whip” counts, with everyone from party leaders to lobbyists fixed on this issue. With the tabulation from the CBO, House leaders expect to push past the 216 votes they need to move healthcare to the president’s desk.
“We just have to make sure our members are comfortable with it and get the language to them,” says Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Kucinich is the only official ‘no’ to ‘yes.’ We think there will be others.”
House leaders were encouraged that several Democrats supporting abortion rights, including Reps. Dale Kildee of Michigan and James Oberstar of Minnesota, also announced this week that they still plan to vote for the bill, even with the Senate language on abortion.