***Update: Audio of Rep.Henry Waxman interview and videos of floor questioning from Minority Leader John Boehner
H.R. 3962, America’s Healthy Future Act, passed the House yesterday evening 215 to 220 after several hours of debate. Amid floor speeches, pro-life congressmen were also successful in writing in the pro-life oriented Stupak-Pitts amendment. Pro-life groups were excited over the passage of the amendment and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged the passage of the amendment.
However, during questioning from the press prior the passage of the Stupak-Pitts amendment, the Washington Times asked Rep.Henry Waxman (D - Calif.) if the amendment could be changed later on after the eventual passage of H.R. 3962 last night.: AUDIO
“The bill, if it passes, will be up in conference with what the Senate passes, and then we will have to work there to resolve differences and to fashion one bill that we will then kick back to our respective chambers to get the president to sign after we pass it.”
Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.) was the only Republican to vote for H.R. 3962 and cited the Stupak-Pitts amendment as a reason why he could vote for the Democratic health care bill:
“Before the Stupak-Pitts amendment was adopted as part of this health reform bill, the bill failed to explicitly include the longstanding policy prohibiting federal funding of elective abortion and plans which include elective abortion.”
“Thank [sic] to the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, taxpayer dollars will not go to supporting elective abortions, and for thousands of my constituents, this was a top priority. By incorporating this amendment into the health reform bill, my colleagues and I made this bill better, and that is an achievement of which I will always be proud.”
While pro-choice advocates were “furious” over the consideration and eventual passage of the amendment, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Oh.) questioned Mr. Waxman, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) about whether or not the Stupak - Pitts amendment would remain in the bill after it goes to conference, but none of the Democratic congressmen were willing to give Mr. Boehner a straight answer.
I can’t guarantee you anything,” said Mr. Rangel.
Mr. Boehner responded, “it is quite clear this could be a shell game underway… . I have my doubts this language if it passes has any chance of being in the final version of the bill.”
Pro-life forces may have made their point, but at what cost? The Democrats and their pro-choice allies are not done with this bill yet, and any pro-life organization or congressman who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves.