August 7, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com)
-- In a Thursday
interview, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid would not rule out using a
special parliamentary process to prevent pro-life advocates from stopping
the pro-abortion health care bill with a filibuster. The filibuster could
be the only option to prevent a huge expansion of abortion funding.
With Republicans having
just 40 votes and only a couple of Democrats concerned about the massive
abortion funding and insurance mandates in the health care bill, a
filibuster is a necessary option.
But Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he doesn't want to have to use
a process called reconciliation but won't take it off the table.
Reconciliation is a
fast-track, rarely-employed budget rule that makes it so key bills can be
approved on a majority vote while revoking the right of the minority to
use a filibuster to hold up legislation.
“We're not even
discussing [it],” Reid said. “We believe health care should be bipartisan.
We believe we have the opportunity to do that.”
But when asked about
comments pro-abortion Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, made
earlier in the week about keeping the reconciliation option on the table,
Reid admitted that it could be used.
“I've never known
Schumer to say anything wrong," Reid quipped.
"We don't want to use
reconciliation unless we have to. I hope we don't have to," Reid added.
When a filibuster is
used, the Senate needs a supermajority of 60 votes to end debate and allow
a vote on a measure.
With a filibuster,
pro-life advocates could hold up the pro-abortion health care bill if it
is not amended to specifically exclude any abortion funding, insurance
mandates and other pro-life protections such as a conscience clause and
limits on reversing state abortion limits.
Douglas Johnson, the
legislative director of National Right to Life, told LifeNews.com
previously that reconciliation would make it hard for pro-life advocates
and their elected officials to object to the bill.
He said Obama
"administration officials and some congressional Democratic leaders are
seeking a way to ram a plan quickly into law -- they hope to minimize the
time that would be available for the public to become aware of all the
radical effects of their plan."
Pro-life Sen. Mike
Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, voiced his concerns about reconciliation
during a hearing on the nomination of pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Kathleen
Sebelius to become Obama's Health Secretary.
"I'm afraid that if
that reconciliation winds up in the budget bill, it'll be like a
declaration of war," he said.
Reid hinted at using
reconciliation earlier this year to deprive pro-life senators of their
filibuster right on a health care bill and he defended the idea in April.
"I don't know why everyone is up in arms," Reid said then.
For the pro-life
movement, elections have consequences and the results of a pro-abortion
president and a Congress with a solid pro-abortion majority may be a
health care bill that covers abortions and requires insurance companies to
pay for them.
With so few pro-life
votes in the Senate, reconciliation could stop pro-life lawmakers in their
tracks as they attempt to defeat or amend the bill.
Related web sites:
National Right to Life -