Ocasio-Cortez: Progressive frustration with Pelosi 'quite real'
Scalise moves forward with plan to force vote on 'Abortion Survivors' act
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) plans to move forward with introducing a discharge petition next week that would force a vote on a bill that would require medical practitioners to provide the same level of care to infants that survive an abortion as those who did not undergo the procedure.
Scalise has been leading the efforts alongside Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which was reintroduced earlier this year. If he successfully garners the 218 signatures needed, the maneuver would allow him to circumvent Democratic leadership in bringing the legislation to the floor.
"Next week, on April 2, next Tuesday, I will be formally filing the discharge petition on the Born Alive Act," he told reporters during a pen and pad. "Ann Wagner will be my first signator and there are a lot of members that want to sign that, and frankly we're going to find out real soon which Democrats truly are pro-life."
Scalise said he believes successfully utilizing the rarely employed parliamentary procedure is an attainable goal for the bill's supporters. The Louisiana Republican says the the discharge petition also will force members to go on the record on a critical issue.
"So, you know, for all the Democrats who ran saying they were pro-life, this is going to be the true test. There are a lot of people a lot of the country that are interested in this," he said. "This is an issue that has gotten a lot more attention and as it gets more attention people are shocked that a baby that can be killed after it's born alive, outside the womb, including many pro-choice people who don't support that procedure."
Wagner said they have a number of outside groups helping with their efforts, encouraging members from both parties to sign on. The Missouri Republican said she plans to talk with members across the aisle on the floor in coming days to cumulate additional support for their efforts, adding she's confident it will ultimately see bipartisan backing.
"I've got Democrat cosponsors and I have Democrats that signed on to the 116th bill, the current bill, and I have, obviously, Dems that voted for it in the 115th Congress," she told The Hill.
Wagner said hasn't "had the discharge petition conversation yet" with Democratic members, noting they faced parliamentary hurdles and wanted to wait until the timing was right.
"I haven't had the discharge petition conversation yet. We were worried about when it would become ripe and now we pretty much know that it will, because it also depends on pro forma days and things like this," she said.
Under the legislation, hospital employees would be mandated to report violations to law enforcement officials, and violators could face fines or up to five years in prison if they don't comply.
The push to force a vote comes in the wake of remarks by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) defending legislation in his state that would make third-trimester abortions more accessible. Northam's comments went viral after he made them on a local Virginia radio station in February, saying, "If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen: the infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother."
House Republicans have put a strong focus on the Born Alive Act since the remarks were made, with GOP lawmakers having requested to pass the measure through unanimous consent 20 times since the start of the 116th Congress.