Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is disputing claims from members of his own party that the health care reform package contains money for abortions. Michigan Representative Bart Stupak is among a dozen House Democrats who will vote against the health care overhaul, claiming it would “directly subsidize abortions.” Harkin says that’s not the case.
“Mr. Stupak, sadly, is totally misinformed,” Harkin says. “I hope he reads our bill and I hope he talks with people here. We have plenty of people who share his philosophy on that who voted for our bill in the Senate, that’s 60 votes.” Stupak and the other Democrats say they’ll vote “no” on the measure unless a provision subsidizing abortion is removed. Harkin says there is no such provision.
“We have a number of senators on our side who share his philosophy,” Harkin says. “Mr. Stupak is just sadly mistaken. There is no money, there is no provision in the Senate bill that allows the federal government to subsidize or otherwise pay for abortions. Simply not so and saying it doesn’t make it so.”
President Obama is calling for an “up or down vote” on health care reform within a few weeks. New rules would deny Republicans the chance to filibuster and block a vote. Harkin sides with the president, saying it’s time for a vote. “For more than a year, Republicans have done everything in their power to delay, obstruct and to kill reform,” Harkin says.
“I suppose that’s their right, if they want to do it. Just as surely, Democrats were overwhelming elected to the majority in Congress and the White House. We have a responsibility to govern and get the job done and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, released a statement saying:
“We spend too much on health care, and we don’t get enough value for the dollars we spend. We should undertake reforms that can lower cost and improve quality without jeopardizing our economy by raising taxes or making coverage even more unaffordable with higher premiums. The President continues to try to accomplish his agenda by passing a massive health care reform bill. Beyond the fact that the bills continue to be written behind closed doors and include a limited number of Republican ideas, the legislation is so badly flawed that it will take more than token updates to fix them.”