Stupak: 15-20 Dems withholding support for White House health plan

There are 15-20 House Democrats who are withholding their support for President Barack Obama's healthcare proposal, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said Wednesday.

Stupak led a broad coalition of anti-abortion Democrats in November, demanding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) include tough abortion restrictions in the lower chamber's legislation lest she lose a chance of passing the bill. 

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The Michigan Democrat has voiced unhappiness with the president's plan because it upholds the Senate's abortion language, which he says is too loose and could allow federal dollars to pay for abortion procedures.

But Stupak said that the group of 15-20 Democrats oppose it not just because of the abortion provisions.

Asked on Fox News if he thinks the president's fixes will pass the House, Stupak said, "Despite the abortion language, no, there are other problems with this bill...[I have spoken to] probably about 15 or 20 of them in the last 24 hours; they've said there are other problems with this bill."

Stupak's remarks come after House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) Wednesday morning predicted that Democrats would fall 14 votes short of passing the bill.

The House passed its bill in November by a count of 220-215 and even a 15-vote defection would prevent Pelosi from passing the president's plan.

Until Stupak spoke, no Democrat had handicapped the exact vote count on the president's plan. The White House currently wants the House to pass the Senate's original healthcare bill then for both chambers to pass its fixes, with the Senate using the budget reconciliation process.

Stupak said that the group objects to the taxes on healthcare benefits contained in Obama's plan as well as several provisions that are offset until 2018. 

In an interview on MSNBC Wednesday morning, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) accused Cantor of "playing games” but did not say whether House Democrats have the votes to pass the president’s fixes. 

Clyburn previously predicted that the House would pass the new package by a wider margin than it did its original bill.

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