The Day's Biggest News Is Stupak

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JONATHAN CHAIT MARCH 19, 2010

The Day's Biggest News Is Stupak

Who sounds like he wants to make a deal. The contours of the agreement appear to be a separate House vote on affirming the Hyde language -- basically the same idea proposed by reader Eric Altshule, a former chief of staff on the Hill. Here's Stupak speaking to George Stephanopoulos:

And here's Altshule's more detailed description:

In reading the excellent article by Timothy Noah, the solution for the Stupak issue becomes obvious.  Stupak’s main concern is that the Hyde language fully extends to the subsidized policies available in the exchanges.  However, the Hyde language is not permanent law – it is an amendment in the HHS appropriations bill that expires every fiscal year.  That is the basic challenge – Stupak wants to make a permanent law that mimics a temporary law that is annually renewed during an annual appropriations process.

The solution is to get the Appropriations Committee to promise to include language extending Hyde to the exchanges as part of the HHS Appropriations bill later this year.  It will be part of the bill (just like the current Hyde language), and while it can be taken out of the bill by amendment on the floor, there are not the votes to do that.  If there is an amendment to repeal the Hyde language on the House Floor this summer, Stupak will probably welcome that.  Stupak and all his supporters will have their unambiguous vote against abortion coverage in HCR, and they will win.  Pro-choice voters will be disappointed in the HHS fight, but there will be no reason to vote against HCR now.  Stupak will get his language exactly the way the Hyde language exists now, and we will all get HCR.  It is a win-win for everyone.

If Stupak can make a deal, that would lock down the votes.

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posted in: jonathan chait, eric altshule, george stephanopoulos, hyde, timothy noah

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