Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
Rep. Bart Stupak, the pro-life Democrat from Michigan, has weighed in on the president's new proposal for health care reform. Stupak played a pivotal role last year in the passage of the House health care reform bill when he authored an amendment to add tight restrictions on abortion funding, a move that enraged pro-choice advocates in the Democratic base but also garnered the support of 40 fellow conservative House Democrats.
In a statement released by his office, Stupak praised some elements of the president's proposal, but calls the abortion funding language in the plan "a significant departure from current law and unacceptable." The congressman's objection to the provisions presents a major hurdle for negotiators, who have worked for months behind closed doors to find a compromise that both Stupak's coalition and the progressive members of the Democratic caucus can support.
Here's his full statement:
"I was pleased to see that President Obama's health care proposal did not include several of the sweetheart deals provided to select states in the Senate bill. Unfortunately, the President's proposal encompasses the Senate language allowing public funding of abortion. The Senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable. While the President has laid out a health care proposal that brings us closer to resolving our differences, there is still work to be done before Congress can pass comprehensive health care reform."