WASHINGTON (BP)--The Southern Baptist Convention's public policy entity called March 11 for opponents of a health-care bill to contact their representatives immediately as Congress moves toward what may be decisive action on the controversial legislation.
On the same day, Democratic leaders said they are unable to address pro-life concerns within their own party over abortion funding in the measure and will try to pass it without changes to the abortion language.
The developments occurred as the House of Representatives nears possible action the week of March 14-20 on a Senate-approved, health-care reform bill. President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress are seeking House passage of the Senate bill to be followed by approval by both chambers of another bill to "fix" problems in the Senate version.
The White House had called for a vote on the legislation by March 18, when Obama was scheduled to leave on an overseas trip. The administration announced March 12, however, the president had delayed his departure until March 21 in order for him to be in Washington in an attempt to gain passage of the bill.
Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said in an e-mail alert, "[L]iberals are desperately twisting arms to try to pass this terrible bill."
"If this bill passes, it will mean federal funding of abortion, a nearly half-trillion-dollar cut to Medicare, heavy taxes on individuals and businesses, higher premiums, and strong government control that will inevitably lead to a decline in patient care," Land said. "Even if the House does agree to some fixes, the health care bill cannot be adequately repaired."
Land's e-mail cited 37 Democratic representatives who voted against the House-approved bill in November and now "are under tremendous pressure" to support the Senate bill. It is "imperative" these House members hear from opponents of the Senate measure, he said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Rep. Henry Waxman of California said March 11 the Democratic leadership had decided they would not be able to revise the abortion language in the Senate version through a secondary, or "reconciliation," bill.
"I don't know that we've made a collective judgment on it, but I think [Waxman's] comments are accurate that we believe it's not possible to do it through reconciliation," Hoyer said according to Roll Call. Read More