Initial Reports Indicate No Stupak Amendment in Reid’s Senate Bill

Jodi Jacobson

Early indications are that the Senate health reform bill introduced by Majority Leader Harry Reid preserves the "status quo" and does not include a version of the Stupak amendment.

This post was updated at 10:47 p.m. Wednesday, November 18th to include links to articles at other sites covering the Senate health reform bill. Links can be found below.

Based on information available as of this writing, the health reform bill unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid does not contain language similar to the Stupak amendment.

The Hill notes:

An existing law, known as the Hyde amendment, already prohibits federal
money from paying for abortions except in cases or rape or incest or
when the woman’s life is endangered. Anti-abortion-rights lawmakers,
however, argued that the House bill and the measures approved by two
Senate committees would have circumvented that law.

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The article quotes Senator John
Kerry (D-Mass.), who is pro-choice,  as saying  Reid’s new
provisions would preserve the Hyde amendment while enabling people to
buy insurance plans with abortion coverage on the exchange.

"We’re basically going to keep current law, which is what we ought to do," Kerry said after the Democratic caucus meeting.

Another article by Huffington Post reports:

The health care reform package unveiled by Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Wednesday night bars the use of federal funds for
abortion services, but does not go as far as the House bill — which
prevents women in many cases from buying insurance with their own money
that covers abortion.

The Senate version would require at least one plan within the health
insurance exchange that the bill sets up to offer a plan that covers
abortion and one that doesn’t. It would also authorize the Health and
Human Services Secretary to audit plans to make certain that abortion
isn’t being paid for with federal dollars.

In a statement shared by her office with RH RealityCheck, Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA), author of the original Capps amendment in the House bill, said:

“I am pleased that the Senate has adopted a reasonable, common ground approach on this difficult question.  It appears that their approach closely mirrors my language which was originally included in the House bill.  It ensures that federal funds do not pay for abortions but allows continued access to this legal medical procedure. This is a bill about health insurance reform not about expanding or contracting access to abortion services. I am glad that the Senate has rejected the more extreme Stupak language and look forward to continuing to work with my pro-life and pro-choice colleagues on a reasonable compromise on this issue.”

Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak worked with other anti-choice Democrats and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to insert a new amendment into the House health care bill that, if signed into law, would dramatically alter women’s access to insurance coverage for abortion care.

Links to other articles:

Details of Senate HCR Bill Emerge, Reconciliation On The Table, Daily Kos – Joan McCarter

Senate Opt-Out Public Option Won’t Start Until 2014, And Won’t Cover Abortion Procedures, Open Left – Chris Bowers

Reid Outlines Bill For Caucus, Warns Conservative Dems That Reconciliation Is Still An Option, TPMDC – Brian Beutler

Health Bill CBO Score: $849 Billion Over Next Decade, HuffPost – Sam Stein

Reid: ‘We’re Real Proud Of These Figures’, TPMDC – Brian Beutler

Senate Health Care Bill Covers 94%, Costs $849B, Reduces Deficit By $127B, All Over 10 Years, OpenLeft – Chris Bowers

CBO Says Senate Health Bill Would Cover 94% of Americans, Sharply Reduce the Deficit, Think Progress – Matt Yglesias

CBO: Senate Bill Cuts $127 Billion From Deficit In First, Decade, Covers 31 Million, – Ezra Klein

Reid’s Bill Includes Public Option With Opt-Out And Tax On “Cadillac Plans”, AMERICAblog – Joe Sudbay

First Look At The Senate Bill (Updated), The New Republic: The Treatment, Jonathan Cohn

CBO: Health Reform Reduces Deficit By $777B/20 Years, MyDD – Jonathan Singer

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Trump Doesn’t Want Tubman on the $20, Cruz Holds Up Anti-Slavery Bill

Ally Boguhn

Speaking at a town hall event on Thursday, Donald Trump said that while Harriet Tubman is “fantastic,” portraying her on the $20 bill was just “pure political correctness.”

Donald Trump couldn’t get behind putting iconic abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill this week, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is reportedly holding up an anti-slavery measure over abortion access.

Trump Upset Tubman Will Be On $20 Bill 

Trump wasn’t thrilled with news that Tubman would replace former President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill.

Speaking at NBC’s TODAY town hall event on Thursday, Trump said that while Tubman is “fantastic,” portraying her on the $20 bill was just “pure political correctness.”

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“Andrew Jackson had a great history … [Jackson] had a history of tremendous success for the country,” Trump said when asked by host Matt Lauer to address the change. “Maybe we can come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 bill, or we do another bill. I don’t like seeing it.”

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced Wednesday that Tubman would replace Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. An image of Jackson will remain on the back. 

Ben Carson, Trump’s former rival for the Republican nomination turned supporter, also thought it’d be best to put Tubman on the $2 bill. “I love Harriet Tubman,” Carson said Wednesday during an appearance on Fox Business Network’s Cavuto: Coast to Coast. “I love what she did, but we can find another way to honor her. Maybe a $2 bill.”

Carson said that Jackson “was a tremendous president.”

“I mean, Andrew Jackson was the last president who actually balanced the federal budget, where we had no national debt,” he told Cavuto.

Cruz Reportedly Holding up Anti-Slavery Bill Because of Abortion

Cruz is reportedly holding up a bipartisan bill to help end slavery over concerns that it could help fund abortion care.

The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act (EMSI), sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), would “help eliminate slavery and human trafficking around the globe,” according to a press release announcing the bill.

The legislation would establish the End Modern Slavery Initiative Foundation, a nonprofit organization to fund grants outside of the United States. Though it would be funded in part by the federal government, 80 percent of the $1.5 billion the organization would hope to have would come from the private sector and foreign governments.

Though it’s “Senate tradition to decline to say who has put such a hold on a bill,” TIME reports that “research suggests that it’s Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Ted Cruz of Texas, who is currently running for the GOP presidential nomination. The bill’s supporters say the Senators are holding the bill over a concern that some of the anti-slavery money might be used to pay for abortions.”

A Cruz spokesperson told the publication that while the senator supports the goals of the legislation, “he has some concerns with the EMSI bill, specifically whether it does enough to ensure that the foundation created by the bill would not be able to fund organizations that provide or support abortions.”

The Helms Amendment already ensures that “no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning.”

What Else We’re Reading

Anti-choice groups are gearing up for a showdown with Trump.

Cruz doubled down on his support of bathroom discrimination laws after Trump told NBC: “There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go. They use the bathroom they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble.”

The Boston Globe has a long read explaining how Trump’s time in the pageant business “foreshadows a reputation for sexism and misogyny that sticks with him nearly 25 years later, in his presidential bid, in which coarse descriptions of women and perceived sexist comments have left him with extraordinarily high unfavorable ratings among women.”

Cruz refused to meet with a delegation of Muslims on Muslim Advocacy Day.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign says that Clinton would be open to picking a woman as her running mate should she win the nomination. “We’ll start with a broad list [of potential vice presidential candidates] and then begin to narrow it,” Clinton spokesperson John Podesta told the Boston Globe. “But there is no question that there will be women on that list.”

CNN reports that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has reserved nearly $40 million worth of airtime in states with key Senate races, including Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Colorado, and Nevada, in hopes of retaking the Senate majority.

The Huffington Post reports that Google Trends show that “Ted Cruz’s supporters share his weird fixation with soup.” Supporters of candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are more likely to run a Google search for “Vegan Passover recipes” or a recipe for guacamole, while Clinton’s supporters searched for recipes for meat pies and quinoa.

Ohio Republicans are sponsoring a bill that could jeopardize emergency voting extensions in the state. According to ThinkProgress:

If legislation sponsored by Republican State Senator Bill Seitz is approved, anyone petitioning a judge to extend voting hours would have to put up a cash bond to cover the cost, which could range in the tens of thousands of dollars. If a court later finds that the polls should not have remained open, the voter would forfeit all the money. Only those who are so poor they can be certified as indigent would be exempted.

CORRECTION: The headline of this article has been updated to clarify Sen. Ted Cruz’s reported actions on the anti-slavery bill.

Roundups Law and Policy

Gavel Drop: Anita Hill’s Story Re-Emerges at Exactly the Perfect Time

Jessica Mason Pieklo & Imani Gandy

The story of the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings and the re-emergence of Anita Hill in the public eye is a reminder of both how much, and how little, has changed in gender politics.

Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts.

Anita Hill: badass for the ages. Her story of publicly fighting back against workplace sexual harassment during the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas has resurfaced in an HBO movie, bringing with it a renewed platform for Hill to remind the country of how far we have yet to go for true gender justice.

The Texas attorney general who is still investigating Planned Parenthood has just been sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for securities fraud.

North Dakota lawmakers put taxpayers on the hook for $245,000, paid to the lawyers representing the only abortion clinic in the state in the fight over the “heartbeat ban” that would have banned abortion as early as six weeks.

Attorneys for the state of Arkansas urged a federal judge not to expand a lawsuit challenging efforts to kick Planned Parenthood out of the Medicaid program to all Medicaid recipients in the state. Instead, they want individual women to bring their own lawsuits challenging denials of reproductive health-care services.

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An Alabama minister’s lawsuit challenging the state’s sex-offender registry can move forward. The minister claims the law that makes it illegal to house two or more offenders within 300 feet of each other violates his First Amendment religious rights to minister to his flock.

Senate Republicans can’t seem to hold hearings to confirm an exceptionally qualified Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, on the grounds that doing so just wouldn’t be good for democracy. But they can apparently confirm lower-court appointments.

A federal appeals court has tossed out a challenge to Utah’s polygamy ban; the lawsuit was brought by the family featured on the reality TV show Sister Wives. Jonathan Turley, the attorney-pundit who represents the polygamists, said his clients were considering appealing the decision, possibly to the Roberts Court.

Thousands of day cares in this country are run by religious organizations with little to no government oversight. The results are as horrific as you might imagine.

A North Carolina judge ordered this woman to cover up while breastfeeding during a court appearance, calling the woman “ridiculous” for thinking she could feed her child in public.