By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Top officials at the White House are pressuring pro-life Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) with threats to close a military base in his state for refusing to go along with pro-abortion healthcare legislation, and have charged Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) with the task of drafting up a compromise that will get Nelson on board.
Even though Sen. Nelson is denying it, the Weekly Standard is reporting that a Senate aide said the White House is threatening to close Nebraska’s Offutt Air Force Base if the staunchly pro-life Nelson doesn’t vote for the Senate’s health care reform bill because of its abortion coverage.
“. . .As our source put it, this is a ‘naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson’s vote,’” wrote Michael Goldfarb of the Standard. “They are ‘threatening to close a base vital to national security for what?’ asked the Senate staffer.”
Meanwhile, the Family Research Council (FRC) is reporting that the White House has enlisted the aid of Senator Bob Casey to come up with an abortion compromise that can win Sen. Nelson’s vote before Christmas.
Apparently, the President knew after Tuesday’s meeting with Senate Democrats that Sen. Nelson was a non-starter.
“I’m not on the bill,” said Sen. Nelson, who spoke with the President before the Democratic caucus meeting on Tuesday. “I have spoken with the President, and he knows [the bill isn’t] wrapped up today.”
Sen. Nelson has consistently refused to vote for the bill until it has been stripped of all abortion coverage.
“Sen. Bob Casey, who occasionally votes with the Senate’s pro-lifers, is the President’s long shot for brokering language on this thorny issue before the New Year,” writes FRC president Tony Perkins. “The chamber is so desperate to pass the bill in December that it’s already amputated controversial elements like the Medicare buy-in and the public option.”
However, Sen. Casey is not working with pro-life groups on this compromise. “Instead, Congressional Quarterly reports that his language looks a lot like the other failed amendments that shuffle money around but still use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion,” Perkins writes. “Even Sen. Casey isn’t optimistic about the prospect of appeasing his colleague and the Senate’s abortion extremists. “It may work,” he said, “It may not. I don’t know.”
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who authored the Stupak-Pitts amendment that passed the House by a wide margin in early November, said he told Sen. Casey “’Don’t go there. I think it’s a non-starter for us.'”
Perkins writes: “It’s also a non-starter for groups like FRC , who refuse to accept anything less than the Stupak standard. This bill has plenty of problems, but chief among them is that it will end lives–not improve them.”
According to the pro-abortion lobbying group, NARAL Pro-Choice America, 41 Senators are solidly pro-abortion and 185 congressmen and women support abortion rights.
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