Questions about the Stupak deal 

Why did Bart Stupak agree to a deal which supposedly restricts abortion funding by an executive order, when it’s obvious, as Yuval Levin points out, that an executive order can’t trump a law and the Senate bill clearly authorizes abortion funding? The reason, I suspect, is that aside from the abortion language Stupak really wants this bill to pass and recognized that it wasn’t going to if he didn’t make the deal. On the Energy and Commerce Committee Stupak has been a protege and ally of his Michigan colleague John Dingell. Dingell is the longest-serving member of the House, and every year he files a bill providing for nationalized health care, which was supported by his father, who preceded him in the House and served from 1933 until his death in 1955, after which the current Mr. Dingell was elected to succeed him. In his remarks Stupak took care to thank Dingell, even though he was ousted as Energy and Commerce Chairman by Henry Waxman with the support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Why did the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership make the deal with Stupak? Because they feared they didn’t have the 216 votes to pass the bill without him. And they know that, as Debby Wasserman-Schultz stated, an executive order cannot override an act of Congress. Wasserman-Schultz is an astute member of the Democratic leadership and can be counted on to calm down the feminist left members who could expected to be furious at any abortion ban. You can be sure such assurances have been given behind the scenes.

How many votes does Stupak bring with him? We won’t know for sure until the roll call. But it’s interesting that in his announcement only one other member spoke, Marcy Kaptur, who had already indicated she would support the bill.

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Michael Barone

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