Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It’s the Stupack Amendment, Stupid

“’They think I shouldn’t be expressing my views on this bill until they get a chance to try to sell me the language,’ Stupak told in an interview on Tuesday. ‘Well, I don’t need anyone to sell me the language. I can read it. I’ve seen it. I’ve worked with it. I know what it says. I don’t need to have a conference with the White House. I have the legislation in front of me here.’”

Apparently, no one from the Chicago Group surrounding President Barack Obama has yet made Stupack an offer he can’t refuse. His spine seems to be in good order: “We’re getting a lot of pressure not to say anything, to try to compromise this principle or belief. That’s just not us. We’re not going to do that. Members who voted for the Stupak language in the House – especially the Democrats, 64 Democrats that voted for it – feel very strongly about it. It’s been part of who we are, part of our make up. It’s the principle belief that we have. We are not just going to abandon it in the name of health care."

Over in Nebraska, such an offer was made to the irresolute Sen. Ben Nelson, which the senator, short on cash and earmarks, readily accepted. People in other states may want to move to Michigan, because the special arrangement made between the “brights” in the Obama administration and Nelson relieve the lucky folk in Michigan of paying for the additional Medicaid spending that will be imposed on Nebraska by the bill -- forever, the costs of their non-payments to be borne by all the suckers living in states other than Michigan.

No one yet has asked Sen. Chris Dodd, himself rewarded with millions from the Obama administration, whether he is quite comfortable with the arrangement made between his patrons in the Obama administration and Nelson. Gov. Jodi Rell has written to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal about the matter suggesting he join in a suit with other attorneys general to seek legal redress. Neither have any of the members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation, most of whom are Catholics, been asked whether they feel they will be incommoded by the reactions of their bishops to the compromised bill.

The Nelson revision of the Senate bill containing the “compromise” language will not bar taxpayer funding of abortion. The “compromise” verbiage, designed to create the appearance of a firewall preventing federal money from being used to fund abortions, is tissue paper thin, little more, its critics say, than an accounting gimmick intended to cover, the American bishops of the Catholic Church are now telling us, a multitude of sins.

Hours after Nelson signed on the dotted line, Stupack declared that the proposed Senate language was “unacceptable.”

The compromise permits the flow of tax dollars from those opposing abortion to abortion providers and violates both the spirit and the letter of previous congressional accommodations with the religious constituents of Nelson, Obama and every congressperson who had affirmed the terms of previous legislation that prevents tax dollars from being used to procure abortions.

The Stupack amendment, a provision attached in the House to the Health Care bill that prohibit the federal government from allocating taxpayer money to pay for any part of any health insurance plan that covers abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger, is itself compromised by the Nelson compromise, but Stupack was not alone in finding the “compromise” unacceptable.

Catholic bishops – who on theological grounds favor providing health care to citizens who cannot afford it – strenuously objected to language compromising prevailing legislation that prevents Catholics from contributing to activities the church regards as sinful.

The day after his spine collapsed – and what senator’s spine would not collapse under pressure of such an attractive offer? – Nelson’s constituents were on the phones inveighing against his moral cave-in. At a rally in downtown Omaha that drew 1,800, “much of the attention was unfavorable, as opponents of the health care legislation in Congress expressed outrage with his decision to cast the crucial 60th vote in favor of the bill,” according to reports.

Catholics in Connecticut’s state delegation may want to consult their bishops on the difference between venial and mortal sins in case they feel it necessary to go to confession before receiving communion this Christmas. But if they are too busy to consult a Catholic encyclopedia concerning the difference, Archbishop Ringali of Philadelphia and the Chairman of the United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishops for Pro Life Activities, provided a useful gloss when asked the question by a reporter. People, the bishop said, “need to follow a well-formed conscience, and that a well-formed conscience would recognize that abortion is ‘absolutely wrong’ and that there is ‘no way in the world’ a health care bill can be supported if it includes a provision allowing tax dollars to go to abortion coverage.”

It will not fit on the head of a pin but the bishop’s remark might make a theologically sound bumper sticker.


Anonymous said...

please stop using the word offer as in offer to Stupak. These are BRIBES, if you I or anyone else did this we would go to jail.

Don Pesci said...

In The Godfather,the capo di capo tells his son that he will bring someone around by "making him an offer he can't refuse." I was playing with that expression, a little stonger than a "bribe" because there is the threat of force in it.

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