Stupak: I don't see how Dems get votes for health bill by March 18th

There may be no way for House Democrats to get together the votes they need to pass healthcare by the White House's March 18th deadline, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said Thursday. 

Stupak, the leader of a group of Democrats who are demanding more stringent abortion provisions in the bill before agreeing to vote for it, said it's difficult to envision a scenario in which the House would move forward with healthcare before President Barack Obama leaves for an international trip. 

"I don't see how they're going to get the votes to pass healthcare, no matter what procedure they use, if they want to do it by March 18th," Stupak said during an appearance Thursday evening on Fox News. "I don't see it."

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Stupak said that the remaining issues were not limited to abortion, and that it would be virtually impossible to work out an agreement on that and other issues by next Thursday.

"There's just so much in play here, and no one has a final draft of what the bill's supposed to be, that we're supposed to vote on," the Michigan centrist said.

Stupak said he'd been having productive conversations with House Democratic leaders on provisions of the bill related to abortion, despite a report by the Associated Press on Thursday that party leaders had decided to move ahead without the votes of lawmakers who oppose abortion rights. 

He also said that Democrats who oppose abortion rights, whose votes may be critical to passing health legislation in the House, would not agree to revisit the issue later and simply pass the Senate bill for now. 

"No, I don't think so," Stupak said of such a scenario. "What assurances would we have that the Senate would take up another bill to correct the many errors we see within the Senate bill."


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