Senate GOP aides, looking for opportunities to pick apart the Democrats’ health bill deal, charged Saturday that Indian health care provisions contained in Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) compromise bill do not include key abortion provisions negotiated by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).
Democrats included “by reference” legislation passed by the Indian Affairs Committee last year covering health care in Indian Country. Under the compromise bill, that version of the bill would be deemed passed.
But that version of the bill did not include key abortion provisions prohibiting the federal government from funding abortions. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) ultimately inserted abortion provisions during floor debate — but the bill died in conference largely because of the Vitter language.
Republicans called the language a “huge mistake” and speculated it could cause difficulty for Reid, since it would appear to undercut his deal with Nelson to continue prohibitions on federally funded abortions.
“When you drop major pieces of legislation into a 2,000-page bill simply by reference, you’re going to make mistakes. For advocates of life, this mistake is a huge one,” a GOP aide said.
Some Hill GOP staff sincerely think this could be a real headache for Reid.