“While it will cause dismay among the Democratic party’s liberal wing…”

The BBC report that the US House of Representatives is preparing to vote on the President Obama sponsored Healthcare Bill, and Richard Adams notes a last-minute compromise on abortion.

As the vote drew closer, attention focussed on on Bart Stupak, the Democrat congressman who authored the controversial “Stupak amendment” on the original House bill that placed onerous conditions barring abortion provision from health insurance subsidised by federal funds. The last-minute deal was lashed together, involving President Obama, in order to win over Stupak and several of his allies.

Stupak held a late afternoon press conference announcing his dramatic change of heart, and pledged that he and several of his anti-abortion conservative Democrat colleagues would support the bill after seeing President Obama’s proposed executive order.

Adds The Bill passed 219 – 212. And, in the NY Times, David E Sanger notes

Never in modern memory has a major piece of legislation passed without a single Republican vote. Even President Lyndon B. Johnson got just shy of half of Republicans in the House to vote for Medicare in 1965, a piece of legislation that was denounced with many of the same words used to oppose this one. That may be the true measure of how much has changed in Washington in the ensuing 45 years, and how Mr. Obama’s own strategy is changing with the discovery that the approach to governing he had in mind simply will not work.

Meanwhile the Obama-supporting Michael Tomasky adds

Under the deal, Obama will sign an executive order affirming that no federal funds can be used for abortions. You can read the order here. It doesn’t seem to say much to me beyond the fact of reaffirming that nothing in the act shall be construed to run counter to the so-called existing Hyde language that bars federal funds for abortions.

The mini-instant-conventional wisdom that I’m picking up, subject to alteration, is that Stupak kind of caved. Someone who was at the press conference says that someone read a statement from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops indicating a certain unease with the deal. I don’t know this firsthand, and I’ll report back as developments merit, and you can Google this on your own of course.

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  • IRIA

    the compromise is essentially worthless. It gives Stupak cover and that’s about it. BIG day for the Dems.

  • S in DC

    So glad this is happening finally. All this rubbish from the GOP can stop, momentarily.

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    And, speaking of “choice,” wouldn’t it be wonderful if the women of Northern Ireland also had equal access to abortion, like the rest of their fellow UK citizens ? Of course NI is a “special case,” and when it came to the crunch in the Assembly, way back, the Women’s Coalition and Sinn Fein, alleged “progressives,” fudged on this issue, to their shame. Now if Monica McWilliams and the NI Human Rights Commission and their allies for an all-but-the-kitchen-sink Bill of Rights actually championed this non-sectarian most basic right for women, that would indeed be progress. But would Chuck Feeney’s tens of millions of US dollars be used to support that campaign ? Doubt it….. Hope springs eternal ? Or will another generation of poor NI women be forced to pay their way over to GB to make a decision which none of them ever wanted to make and which causes massive mental trauma ?

  • Greenflag

    Obama has just about saved his presidency and avoided becoming a lame duck president with 3 years left in office .

    The fact that the GOP voted entirely against the bill is just testimony to the ever growing division between americans -the class war – which has resulted from the rich becoming ever richer these past 25 years while middle class and lower income americans are further marginalised as investment moved overseas and the banking and financial sectors were given free rein to loot and pillage their way through the savings and investments of tens of millions of americans .

    Those Democrats who refused to vote with Obama were paying homage to the first cousins of the banking and financial services lobby i.e the private health care insurance mobsters .

    A small victory for common sense -a tribute to Obama’s political stamina but by no means the end of health care reform .

  • S in DC

    I don’t know if he’s “saved” his presidency just yet. I’m really curious to see how the midterms pan out, and whether there is a backlash against the Republicans for their obstructionist behaviour. If they win back the House, as unlikely as it seems at the moment, all bets are off.

  • Greenflag

    For the past two decades corporate america and in particular the banking /financial services /insurance sectors have through their avarice and total disregard of society pillaged and looted the poorest Americans while waging two wars one of which has to date cost 3 trillion dollars . That a society like the USA believes it has the right to export it’s version of democracy sorry corporate theft/plutocracy to the rest of the world beggars belief. Having emisserated it’s own middle and working classes with the help of Wall St and the banking and insurance sectors and exported it’s ‘sophisticated financial tools of what Warren Buffet accurately termed the real weapons of mass destruction to the rest of the world the establishment interests of the GOP, Wall St and banking show no sign of regret. Corporate profits are expected to mount in 2010 while 8 million americans face foreclosure and unemployment heads towards Great depression levels .

    The USA continues to support Israel while that country literally pisses on American politicians up to an including their VP and President .

    Americans need to get it into their heads that as long as health care is overwhelmingly managed and in the hands of for profit businesses with the state having minimal or non existent involvement then the result will always be -larger profits for the health insurance companies and the corporate pharmaceuticals at the expense of most americans and what’s left of their economy. There is a reason why the USA spends twice as much on health care as Japan and has a life expectancy of 6 years less on average .