This morning, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) announced that he was going to support the Senate Health Care reform bill. This bill, which no one outside of the Senate Democrat caucus has even seen, had been protested by Senator Nelson because it provided federal funding for abortion, something that has been prohibited because of the Hyde Amendment.
In his press conference, Senator Nelson announced that he could now support the bill because the pro-life position was being protect and that his state would receive a certain amount of Medicaid relief. So the Senator signs on to the bill because abortions will remain unfunded.
Well, not exactly.
The Senate version that will now pass in that chamber will almost certainly have provisions to prohibit abortion funding. After that, though, the fun really starts in Conference Committee.
When two bills are passed on a similar topic, one in the House and one in the Senate, the Constitution provides that they need to be reconciled into one bill by a Conference Committee of members of the House and Senate. These members come from the Committees that originated the legislation. The Conference Committee then produces a single piece of legislation that is voted on by a simple majority in each house without further amendment. The Conference Committee is not bound by any of the provisions in either of the two originating pieces of legislation and can add or subtract portions to the new bill.
Would it surprise anyone if a conference committee produced a bill that added back into it funding for abortions, along with a public option, along with death panels?
The bill would then go back to the House where it could be voted on without any further amendment. Then it's off to the Senate where Senator Nelson and others of his spineless ilk could bewail this new bill and vow that they could never vote for a bill that included such anti-life language. Then, he might just vote against it. By then it won't matter. All that will be needed is 51 votes in the U.S. Senate. Nelson can sputter and fume and vote against it, but the bill will pass with the readded abortion funding and be signed into law by the most pro-abort President in our history.
Now, do you really think that Senator Nelson is so naive that he lacks awareness of the procedures of Conference Committees and the powers that those committees have to change the bills? Do you really think that he is that ignorant, or is this posturing on his part to portray himself as a staunch pro-lifer to conservative Nebraskans in 2012 when he runs for reelection?
I'm betting on this: Senator Nelson is nothing othdr than a cynical politician who, while claiming to champion the right to life of the unborn, sells those very helpless little souls down the river for the filthy lucre of Washington largesse.
Great work, Senator. I hope that you can sleep tonight with an untroubled conscience.