Rep. Bart Stupak, Michigan Democrat, says dozens of House Democrats may join him in opposing a final health care compromise unless the House bill’s abortion language is changed.
Mr. Stupak tells Time magazine that President Obama either does not understand the House bill or is intentionally misleading people when he asserts that there would be no government funding of abortion under the so-called public option.
“We are going to do everything we can to stop the rule, or the bill, from coming to the floor,” Mr. Stupak said, adding that as many as 39 Democratic members of Congress may join him in the effort.
The reason: The House bill would require everyone who signs up for government-run health insurance to contribute to abortion coverage.
“You are spreading the cost of the procedure over a public plan,” Mr. Stupak said.
Mr. Stupak told the magazine that Mr. Obama’s statements during recent public events signal one of two things: Either he does not fully understand how abortion is treated in the House bill, or “if he is aware of it, and he is making these statements, then he is misleading people.”
“If you were sitting in the White House, it is entirely understandable that you would decide to unveil the surprise announcement of Ben Bernankes reappointment [Tuesday]: that may be the best and only way to divert attention from other economic news that is eye-popping,” David Gergen writes in a blog at CNN.com.
“The Bernanke appointment will be welcomed in financial circles, both here and overseas, because he is widely seen as the man who stopped us from going over a cliff. While some in Congress remain relentless critics of Bernanke, President Obama will generally win high marks for a reassuring move. …
“Yet even the Bernanke story cannot fully deflect attention from the other economic story engulfing the administration today: its official announcement of new economic projections - in particular, its acknowledgment that deficits over the coming decade will be even higher than it said only three months ago,” said Mr. Gergen, who has served as an adviser to several presidents, Republican and Democrat.
“Now, the administration is predicting that instead of $7 trillion in new deficits, the country will rack up a staggering $9 trillion in new deficits for the 2010-2019 period. …
“Deficits of that magnitude would be extraordinarily dangerous and irresponsible for the country. They would double the national debt, risk much higher inflation, saddle future taxpayers with annual interest payments of over $900 billion, make us even more reliant upon China as a creditor, and over time would weaken us as a great nation. Talk about trend lines that are unsustainable!
“Health care reform was already in growing trouble before this report. These deficit projections clearly add another significant threat to its passage. The administration will now have to persuade Congress and a skeptical public that it would be financially prudent to embark upon an ambitious new entitlement program in the teeth of dangerously growing deficits.”
WAR ON CIA
“The criminal indictments may as well be captioned, ‘The United States vs. The Central Intelligence Agency,’ because thats the correct way to identify the adversaries. The Democrats war on our intelligence agencies has now become a two-front war with the Obama administration attacking where Congressional Democrats couldnt,” Jed Babbin writes at www.humanevents.com.
“Attorney General Eric Holder has announced he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the CIA interrogators who used tough interrogation techniques to see which of them will be prosecuted. Holder has drawn a line in the sand,” Mr. Babbin said.
“On one side stands the U.S. Department of Justice, its army of second-guessers and scalp-hunters at the ready, with unlimited time and an unlimited budget to pursue whatever theory of the law it chooses. On the other sits the interrogators and CIA bureaucrats who have been trying - sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing - to get terrorist detainees to give up intelligence information that will save American lives.
“Unlike the Justice Department, they dont have unlimited funds to fight in court for years. There wont be gaggles of high-priced lawyers donating their services to defend these people. Many of their lives will be ruined, and fortunes lost.
“Grinning on the sidelines will be the terrorists and the nations that sponsor them, wondering how America can be so incredibly stupid as to hobble its principal spy agency in the middle of a war that cannot be won without that agencys success in everything it does.”
“American democracy has never been democracy by plebiscite, a process by which a leader is anointed, then the populace steps out of the way, and the anointed one puts his political program in place,” Fouad Ajami writes in the Wall Street Journal.
“In the American tradition, the ‘mandate of heaven’ is gained and lost every day and people talk back to their leaders. They are not held in thrall by them. The leaders are not infallible or a breed apart. That way is the Third World way, the way it plays out in Arab and Latin American politics,” said Mr. Ajami, who teaches at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and serves as an adjunct fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
“Those protesters in those town-hall meetings have served notice that Mr. Obama’s charismatic moment has passed. Once again, the belief in that American exception that set this nation apart from other lands is re-emerging.
“Health care is the tip of the iceberg. Beneath it is an unease with the way the verdict of the 2008 election was read by those who prevailed. It shall be seen whether the man swept into office in the moment of national panic will adjust to the nation’s recovery of its self-confidence.”
DISSENT IN RANKS
“In a statement likely to intensify the GOP assault on Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s reign, a first-term Democratic ‘blue dog’ congressman said that he would not vote to make her the top House Democrat again,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column at www.usnews.com.
“Rep. Parker Griffith, a former oncologist from Alabama, told a town hall meeting this week that Pelosi is too divisive to be speaker. ‘I would not vote for her [again],’ he added. ‘Someone that divisive and that polarizing cannot bring us together.’
“Griffith has been fairly independent this year, opposing the stimulus and the cap-and-trade carbon emissions plan, according to the Huntsville (Ala.) Times, which reported his comments.”
• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washington times.com.