Sunday, March 21, 2010
Stupak Is Not A Hero
The press is starting to float the idea that Bart Stupak is a great and wonderful fella because he's willing to "bend" to make health care reform a reality and has wanted to vote for it all along.
Total. Unadulterated. Bullshit. Bart Stupak is an ignorant jackass who is now insisting that the president issue an executive order to his personal specifications that will ensure that the money of decent people is never forced to touch the shameful, filthy dollars of the sluts who refuse to submit to religious doctrine they don't believe in.And he doesn't give a damn if health care fails, that's obvious.
Li'l Luke is reporting that Stupak wrote the executive order himself (which might be good news since he's nearly illiterate.) And other reports say that he is insisting that Obama issue the order before he votes --- and even then he won't commit, which leaves no room for Pelosi. (The man knows how to drive a bargain --- too bad he doesn't bother to do it on issues other than uterus ownership.)
He's no hero. He's an enemy of freedom and human rights. And regardless of how he end up voting today, he should lose his seat over this. If you'd like to help make that happen, you can donate to Connie Saltonstall, his primary challenger. I guarantee you this would not be happening if she held that seat.
The White House and anti-abortion Democrats have reached an agreement to diffuse the controversy over abortion in the health reform bill – planning a series of steps that will secure the support of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and other Democrats to give party leaders the votes they need to pass reform, sources tell POLITICO.
Under the agreement, President Barack Obama would sign an executive order ensuring that no federal funding will go to pay for abortion under the health reform plans. In addition, Stupak will get to state his concerns about abortion funding in the bill during a colloquy on the House floor during the debate.
And then, Stupak and several other Democratic hold-outs over abortion will sign on to the bill, the sources said. The agreement would almost certainly give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the 216 votes she needs to secure an historic health reform vote by day’s end – capping a year-long drive to achieve Obama’s signature legislative goal.
Stupak himself told reporters in the Capitol that he remains opposed to the bill at this time. "I'm a no vote. There is no agreement. Until there is an agreement I'm a no vote," Stupak said, but he said the negotiations on a final agreement are continuing.
Asked how many votes hang in the balance, Stupak said, “Enough” – meaning enough to save or kill the bill.
But Rep. Alan Mollohan, who is one of the votes in question, told POLITICO that the language in the agreement has already been essentially cleared. Mollohan said it is only a matter of time for "the follow-through steps" to be implemented.
Dana Bash reported that the pro-choice caucus isn't all that happy with the language. We'll see.
: Bash now says that the pro-choicers aren't happy but that they've signed off.
Update II: Looks like it's done.
On the press conference, O'Donnell says that "this plays very, very well for Stupak" and his people who held to their principles all the way down to the wire. (I can't listen to them harping about "protecting life" when they answer to a church hierarchy that protects pedophiles, so I'll take his word for it. That's the village line already.)
The text of the executive order follows. I'll await word from the wonks a to the ramifications, if any:
ENSURING ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ABORTION RESTRICTIONS IN THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (approved March __, 2010), I hereby order as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“the Act”), it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment. The purpose of this Executive Order is to establish a comprehensive, government-wide set of policies and procedures to achieve this goal and to make certain that all relevant actors—Federal officials, state officials (including insurance regulators) and health care providers—are aware of their responsibilities, new and old.
The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges. Under the Act, longstanding Federal laws to protect conscience (such as the Church Amendment, 42 U.S.C. §300a-7, and the Weldon Amendment, Pub. L. No. 111-8, §508(d)(1) (2009)) remain intact and new protections prohibit discrimination against health care facilities and health care providers because of an unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.
Numerous executive agencies have a role in ensuring that these restrictions are enforced, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
Section 2. Strict Compliance with Prohibitions on Abortion Funding in Health Insurance Exchanges. The Act specifically prohibits the use of tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments to pay for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) in the health insurance exchanges that will be operational in 2014. The Act also imposes strict payment and accounting requirements to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services in exchange plans (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and requires state health insurance commissioners to ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, OMB funds management circulars, and accounting guidance provided by the Government Accountability Office.
I hereby direct the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS to develop, within 180 days of the date of this Executive Order, a model set of segregation guidelines for state health insurance commissioners to use when determining whether exchange plans are complying with the Act’s segregation requirements, established in Section 1303 of the Act, for enrollees receiving Federal financial assistance. The guidelines shall also offer technical information that states should follow to conduct independent regular audits of insurance companies that participate in the health insurance exchanges. In developing these model guidelines, the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS shall consult with executive agencies and offices that have relevant expertise in accounting principles, including, but not limited to, the Department of the Treasury, and with the Government Accountability Office. Upon completion of those model guidelines, the Secretary of HHS should promptly initiate a rulemaking to issue regulations, which will have the force of law, to interpret the Act’s segregation requirements, and shall provide guidance to state health insurance commissioners on how to comply with the model guidelines.
Section 3. Community Health Center Program. The Act establishes a new Community Health Center (CHC) Fund within HHS, which provides additional Federal funds for the community health center program. Existing law prohibits these centers from using federal funds to provide abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), as a result of both the Hyde Amendment and longstanding regulations containing the Hyde language. Under the Act, the Hyde language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers under section 10503 and all other relevant provisions. I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of Federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law. Such actions should include, but are not limited to, updating Grant Policy Statements that accompany CHC grants and issuing new interpretive rules.
Section 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) authority granted by law or presidential directive to an agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This Executive Order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This Executive Order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees or agents, or any other person.
digby 3/21/2010 12:30:00 PM