Wicker: Debt-limit vote is unlikely vehicle for abortion bill

Anti-abortion legislation probably won't be tied to a vote on the debt limit, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said.

Some House Republicans suggested earlier in the week that the debt ceiling could provide an opening to at least force a Senate vote on the abortion bill. But it's more likely that riders on the debt vote "will deal with financial matters, rather than this," Wicker said.

Wicker on Thursday introduced a companion to the abortion bill the House passed on Wednesday. He acknowledged it's "unlikely" that there are 60 votes for the proposal in the Senate but said supporters would push ahead anyway, despite a veto threat from President Obama.

The bill would codify the existing ban on federal funding for abortion and extend that ban to programs outside the scope of the annual spending bill to which it now applies. New federal programs established under healthcare reform could not facilitate the purchase of private insurance that covers abortion.