Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., threatened to work with Republicans to reject healthcare reform, unless House leaders allow a floor vote on a measure to remove abortion rules from the bill.
The issue is whether health plans that receive subsidies from the government should be allowed to provide coverage for abortions.
Stupak’s amendment would ban taxpayer funds from being used for abortions.
“This has been federal law since 1976,” Stupak said in an interview with C-Span. He pointed out that President Obama has said he won’t allow healthcare reform to pay for abortions.
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“We have to have a vote,” Stupak said. “I don’t know why we have to change that basic principle in our law.”
He said Democratic leaders aren’t pleased with his stance. “The speaker (Nancy Pelosi) is not happy with me,” Stupak said.
He said he has been working with Democratic leaders on a compromise, but they haven't reached agreement.
Stupak has no plans to retreat. “I’m comfortable with where I’m at. This is who I am. It’s reflective of my district. If it costs me my seat, so be it.”
Stupak said he has support from about 40 Democrats who will vote against healthcare reform unless the bill’s abortion language is changed. That would be enough to sink the bill if every Republican representative votes against it.
Meanwhile in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid’s insistence on putting a public option in the bill brought to the floor is facing increasing opposition.
Independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman said he will probably vote against the measure if it includes a public option, and other moderates are undecided.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., told The Washington Post, "I'm skeptical about what Senator Reid has proposed." She opposes a public option but said she will "stay open to a principled compromise."
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