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Democrats Negotiating Deal on Abortion in Health Care Bill

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said Wednesday he is working with Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to reach a compromise in the House health care bill over the issue of federal funding for abortions.Stupak, who co-chairs the bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus, said he met with Waxman and other committee Democrats on Tuesday to discuss principles on abortion-related language that they could all agree to in the bill. He said he left the meeting feeling “hopeful— about receiving language from Waxman as soon as next week.But Stupak gave no response when asked if he thought they would ultimately reach a deal. And if that is the case, he warned that there will be trouble when it comes time to vote on the rule for the bill.The Michigan Democrat predicted that 40 Democrats would vote with him in opposing the rule if abortion funding restrictions were not included in the bill. Beyond that, if the House were to hold a vote on the Hyde amendment — which allows for federal funding for abortions only in cases related to rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk — he said he would pick up at least 10 more Democratic votes.“I could see at least 260 votes— in favor of linking the Hyde amendment to the health care bill, Stupak said. “I’d get most of the Republicans, if not all.—Stupak bashed party leaders for not working with anti-abortion-rights Democrats thus far to come up with language that satisfied them. Asked if it seems as if that is what they are doing now, he replied, “A little late, isn’t it? We haven’t been given any amendments at any time in this Congress to try to clarify our positions, have we?—

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