Susan Ferrechio of the sprightly Washington Examiner is reporting that the vote on an abortion amendment today could determine the ultimate fate of the Senate health-care bill. Ferrechio says that the pep talk by the president didn’t get the number of votes to 60, the magic number, and that the abortion vote today could be definitive:
The decision on the abortion amendment will be a decisive moment. If it fails, anti-abortion Democrats including Nelson and Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., may vote against the final bill. But if the amendment passes, the party’s many senators who support abortion access, such as Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., could walk away.
Nelson’s amendment is based on a provision authored by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., that would prevent insurance plans that received taxpayer subsidies from covering abortion. Stupak’s amendment to the House bill that passed last month has become a lightning rod on the Left.
There are other problems for the Democrats in getting the votes, but this vote, if taken, could be today’s most interesting moment. I am wondering if Casey and Nelson really have the guts to go against the Democratic mainstream, if the amendment fails. I am willing to predict that Mikulski won’t budge on abortion.
An interesting day lies ahead of us.