WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- As U.S congressional leaders prepare the Senate's healthcare bill for Congressional Budget Office scoring, negotiators say abortion still is a major hang-up.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the abortion issue "has yet to be resolved," Politico reported Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Tuesday met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House advisers to work on a package of corrections to the Senate bill that then could be sent to the Congressional Budget Office for a final cost estimate.
Hoyer expressed confidence Tuesday the question of restricting federal dollars for abortion could be resolved, but cautioned he hasn't had formal negotiations with Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., sponsor of the House abortion restrictions.
"I have had no negotiations with Mr. Stupak," Hoyer said. He "came up to me on the floor and said, 'I would like to talk to you.' I said OK. We have not yet talked about substance."
Stupak's office said the congressman hasn't reached an agreement on abortion funding yet, but met last week with key House leaders.
"Congressman Stupak expects further meetings this week and remains optimistic that language can be worked out," his spokeswoman, Michelle Begnoche, told the Washington publication.
At this point, proponents and opponents of Stupak's language say they have the votes to support their position. If that's true, it would be nearly impossible for the House to muster the 216 votes needed to pass the measure, Politico said.
On top of that, outside groups are weighing in on the abortion language.
On Tuesday, a coalition of more than 50 women's rights groups wrote Pelosi, Reid and Obama, asking for a major rewrite of the Senate's abortion provision because the restrictions impose "unacceptable obstacles for women who wish to purchase insurance that includes abortion coverage and for plans that wish to offer it."
Stupak's amendment would prevent women receiving federal insurance subsidies from buying abortion coverage, a move critics say could cause women buying their own insurance to have difficulty obtaining such coverage.
The Senate bill's language, Politico said, would require anyone whose policy covers elective abortions to write separate checks to the insurance company -- one covering policy costs and one for actuarial costs of an abortion.
|Additional U.S. News Stories|
PHILADELPHIA, May 24 (UPI) --A Philadelphia judge ordered a couple detained because others might "harbor" them from prosecution for the death of their baby after he was denied medical care.
NEW YORK, May 24 (UPI) --A New York judge has released Amanda Bynes on her own recognizance after the actress was arrested for throwing a bong out of her 36th-floor apartment window.
ROCHESTER, N.Y., May 24 (UPI) --Bausch & Lomb Inc. is nearing a deal to be sold to Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. for about $9 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
BRENTWOOD, N.Y., May 24 (UPI) --A New York state dockworker said one of his first acts as a $26.5 million lottery jackpot winner was to quit his job.