McCaskill: Abortion amendment is the cost of governing with moderates

An amendment included in the House's healthcare bill designed to restrict access to abortions is "is an example of having to govern with moderates," a centrist Democratic senator said Monday.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said that Democrats would not have a majority in the Senate without centrist to conservative Democrats who, in the House, supported the Stupak Amendment that is deeply opposed by liberal members of the party. 

"And frankly, once again, this is an example of having to govern with moderates," McCaskill said this morning on MSNBC. "We can't just turn our back on the fact that the reason we're in the majority is because states like Indiana, and Arkansas and Louisiana, and Missouri and North Carolina and Virginia sent Democrats to the Senate."

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McCaskill described herself as a "a pro-choice candidate," but said that the controversy surrounding the amendment would not cause her to oppose the bill.

The amendment, proposed by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), prevents any plans in the proposed federal health insurance exchange from receiving federal subsidies for abortions. The amendment passed with the support of 64 Democrats but liberal Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) has pledged to recruit Democrats to vote against the final bill if it includes the Stupak language.

But McCaskill predicted that such an effort would likely fail. "I'm not sure that this is going to be enough to kill the bill," she said.

Instead, she stressed that the cost-cutting provisions in the Senate bill, reducing the federal deficit, and the urgent need to reform the nation's healthcare system should be overriding concerns.

"If we don't take this opportunity while we're embroiled in the controversial subject matter, then we all probably deserve to go home," she said.

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