Rep. Bart Stupak, progenitor of the Stupak-Pitts and thorn-in-the-side of healthcare reform, said last week that he wouldn't sign the current bill because it would "directly subsidize abortions." Now he's optimistic about a compromise. Time for champagne?
Not quite yet — unless you need alcohol to dull the pain of endless legislative wrangling. By this point, many voters are probably confused about what Congress is even fighting over. Luckily, the AP has a handy-dandy explainer. Basically, the House version of the bill — thanks to Stupak's involvement — says no plan that receives public subsidies may cover abortion at all. The current Senate version — with language spearheaded by Sen. Ben Nelson — allows such plans to cover abortion as long as customers pay with a separate payment. Under reconciliation, a legislative procedure that looks like the only way to bypass the need for a supermajority in the Senate (which the Dems no longer have thanks to this guy), Congress would send the Senate bill to Obama, along with a separate House bill making certain changes. Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats are fighting to make the abortion language one of those changes.