Stupak bloc crumbling (updated with more crumbling)

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Mar 12, 2010 at 15:00

Now that it has been confirmed the House leadership is going around the Stupak bloc, it appears the Stupak bloc is crumbling.  Check out this CQ article where four potential Stupak bloc members disavow their membership:

Charlie Wilson , D-Ohio, who in November supported a Stupak-sponsored abortion amendment to the House-passed health care package ( HR 3962 ) and passage of the amended bill, is among those who has reconsidered his position. He said Thursday he is willing to vote for the Senate bill. Wilson said that while he would welcome any additional guarantee that no federal funds would be used to pay for abortions, he will not withhold his support if the bill is not changed.

"I'm opposed to abortion, and I think the language in there is pretty clear that it is not something that pays for abortion," he said [...]

Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, said she wanted the abortion language changed, but stopped short of saying it is a deal-breaker for her. "I would not easily give over my vote for the bill" if changes are not made, she said.

An aide to James L. Oberstar , also previously thought to be in Stupak's group, said the Minnesota Democrat is undecided. "He hasn't ruled out anything, including voting for the Senate bill if that's an interim step to a better compromise," said spokesman John Schadl.

A spokesman for Steve Driehaus , an Ohio Democrat, said his boss has not changed his position opposing federal funding for abortion but had not decided how to vote. "He'll decide how he'll vote once he knows exactly what the House will be considering," press secretary Tim Mulvey said in an e-mail.

Unless a member of Congress says they will vote against the bill without the Stupak amendment, then that member of Congress is not in the Stupak bloc.  These four members--Dreihaus, Kaptur, Oberstar and Wilson--all equivocate here.  There is simply no "Stupak or else" language coming from their offices.  They are not Stupak bloc.

As such, here is an update to the Stupak bloc whip chart:

Seemingly Stupak bloc (6)
Marion Berry (AR-01)
Joseph Cao (LA-02)
Kath Dahlkemper (PA-03)
Joe Donnelly (IN-02)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Bart Stupak (MI-01)

Possible Stupak bloc (8)
Chris Carney (PA-10)
Jerry Costello (IL-12)  
Mike Doyle (PA-14)
Brad Ellsworth (IN-08)
Baron Hill (IN-09)
Alan Mollohan (WV-01)
Solomon Ortiz (TX-27)
Nick Rahall (WV-03)

Not Stupak bloc (8)
Steve Driehaus (OH-01)
Paul Kanjorski (PA-12)
Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Dale Kildee (MI-05)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Jim Oberstar (MN-08)
Charlie Wilson (OH-06)

The most significant shift comes from Steve Driehaus, who had told The Hill he was in the Stupak bloc.  Apparently that wasn't true.  This reminds me of something Matthew Yglesias tweeted earlier today:

Dem public option doubletalk highlights weakness of netroots "whip count" strategies -- Senators are very willing to lie.

Apparently, they can lie about holding to their right-wing demands, too.  Or call it "wiggle" room, if you will.  Whatever you call it, one thing I have learned over the past few years is that many members of Congress, especially the moderate ones, are not leaders.  They avoid taking public positions, leave themselves tons of wiggle room, and outright flip their positions all the time.  It definitely is a weakness of the whip counts, but it is still useful to try that shine a light on Congress through those counts.

Update: Via lifeofriley in the comments, Kanjorski is out, too.

Chris Bowers :: Stupak bloc crumbling (updated with more crumbling)

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Excellent News. (4.00 / 1)
Let's hope this continues.  This makes the odds of success go up immensely.

We PTDB! Now, let's pass Grayson's Public Option Act!

Super! (4.00 / 2)
Note that Kanjorski has been speaking pretty constructively about the bill. I doubt he would do so if he was prepared to walk away with Stupak. No mention of abortion, but here's what he said about the bill a couple days ago:

We're probably going to have to adopt the Senate bill in the House side -- even though the House side is only going to deal with agreements that further action to change what's in the Senate bill. ... Assuming we pass that, then we'll be moving the reconciliation bill to make those corrections.

Then there are some things we'll have to wait until next year to correct, because we don't have the procedural tools that the Congress needs to establish them right now. But since the bill will not be going into hard effect for another two or three years, we'll have the time to make the corrections and get it done on the right track.

thank you! (4.00 / 1)
Will update.

[ Parent ]
What he's talking about is a technical corrections bill (0.00 / 0)
A bill full of language fixes and administrative fixes...they want to turn Nelson into Stupak via the technical corrections bill.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

[ Parent ]
Stupak is now publicly claiming that Waxman... (4.00 / 2)
....told him that he wants abortions funded.  OF course, that's BS, but it's not going to help Stupak's case to be publicly and blatantly misrepresenting Waxman's position on this.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

good (4.00 / 1)
I'm glad that leadership is telling them that this political version of stomping their feet and taking their ball and going home is over.  

The Stupak block got tons of exposure, airtime and a very big bullhorn for most of the fall and winter.

Now it's time to finish this part of the process.

I'm sure Stupak et al will have plenty of other works to muck up in the future.

Cuellar? (0.00 / 0)
I know you don't have him listed as a potential Stupak bloc member, but according to Investors Business Daily, Henry Cuellar told them he was a Stupak Democrat.

The article doesn't go into much detail at all, but it states that Cuellar told them that he was a Stupak supporter.  Has anyone heard anything at all about Cuellar being a potential member, because this seems to have suddenly come out of left field.  

Stupak said he is being threatened with an ethics investigation... (0.00 / 0)
...if that is true...the others are probably being threatened as well.  So probably more likely now that the bloc will break-up, but it sounds like they are using some pretty slimey tactics.


Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred. - FDR

Quote (0.00 / 0)
"This has really reached an unhealthy stage," Stupak says. "People are threatening ethics complaints on me."

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred. - FDR

[ Parent ]
Slimey? (4.00 / 2)
What's slimier then forced childbirth?

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, and I hope Stupak gets ridden out of town on a rail.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
I am definitely pro-choice and with you on that issue... (0.00 / 0)
...but I can also understand that others may not agree with us...however I find the threat of an ethics investigation as a form of blackmail, especially if it is unfounded, to be on the edge of being criminal.


Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred. - FDR

[ Parent ]
Massa (0.00 / 0)
This would actually seem to lend credence to former Rep. Massa's allegations that the ethics investigation against him was politically motivated. Note that even if the accusations are true, the timing could well have been arranged to scare other HCR dissenters in the House.

I hope that the American people won't put up with such shenanigans from either party, especially against someone like Stupak who's obviously acting in a) good conscience, and b) compliance with public sentiment on the issue, whether you agree with him or not. (Even a lot of pro-choice people are opposed to federal funding of abortions.) But they probably will put up with it, because most people in both parties pay too little attention to even hear about stuff like this, and are too partisan to let it affect their vote, anyway. So the political dirty tricks go on.

[ Parent ]
Driehaus (0.00 / 0)
Hi everyone, new user here, and probably a lot more conservative than most of you. (Okay, okay, I'm a Republican.) But happy to talk reasonably with the other side.

I respectfully submit that the evidence in this post puts Steve Driehaus in the "possibly Stupak bloc" category, not the "not Stupak bloc" one. Given what he told the Hill, combined with the ambiguity of his spokesman's statement, it still seems quite possible that his vote will be driven by the abortion language.

"My vote will depend on the final language of the bill" is something any Congressman can say about any bill. It doesn't automatically exclude him from the Stupak bloc.


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