One Question From American Catholics For Health Care Summit Participants
As the White House prepares to host the Blair House Health Care Summit on February 25, 2010, the leadership of Catholic Advocate has one simple question:
“Who will stand up when the cameras are on and oppose abortion funding?”, asks Catholic Advocate President Deal Hudson.
President Obama’s plan, announced Monday, used the Senate passed language as a starting point. Catholic Advocate agrees with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that the Senate language should be unacceptable to American Catholics.
To read the full press release, visit the Catholic Advocate Press Room.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – 4:30 p.m. – February 24, 2010:
At the time Catholic Advocate issued our press release, Republican Members of the House of Representatives had not yet confirmed their attendance at the Blair House Health Care Summit. Subsequently, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R, Ohio – 8th), House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Dave Camp (R, Michigan – 4th), and Congressman Paul Ryan (R, Wisconsin -1st) were announced as part of the Republican delegation attending the summit bringing the total number of Catholics attending to twelve. We include Leader Boehner and Congressmen Camp and Ryan in our question to participants.
In the letter, Leader Boehner writes:
“As you know, the Stupak amendment is not included in the Senate version of the health care bill, nor in the new proposal you put forth earlier this week and designated as the starting point for the discussion that will take place at Blair House on February 25. But public opinion surveys (including two recent surveys conducted by CNN and Quinnipiac University) consistently indicate that the Stupak amendment reflects the will of the American people.
“During the House floor debate on H.R. 3200, I individually questioned each of the Democratic committee chairmen with jurisdiction on health care issues to seek their assurances that the will of the House, as reflected by the support of a bipartisan majority for the Stupak amendment, would be preserved when a final health care bill is crafted by the Democratic majority in Washington. None committed to working to ensure that the House position is preserved in a final health care bill. These same majority committee chairmen will be representing the House in the February 25 summit….
“I write today to respectfully ask that you invite Rep. Stupak to participate in the February 25 health care summit so that the will of the American people – and that of a bipartisan majority in the House – on the critical issue of life will be appropriately represented during the discussion…”
IMPORTANT UPDATE – 9:00 a.m. – February 25, 2010:
More news broke late yesterday when it was learned the White House made a last ditch effort to invite Senator Olympia Snowe (R, Maine) and Senator Ron Wyden (D, Oregon).
Fox News received the following statement from her spokesman, John Gentzel:
“Senator Snowe did receive a call from the White House this morning to attend tomorrow’s bipartisan health care summit. While she greatly appreciates the invitation, the Republican leadership understood the rules of the summit, as established by the Administration weeks ago, were that the Democratic and Republican leadership would select their own members to participate in the event. The Republican leadership had long since selected their team and therefore, it would have been inappropriate for Senator Snowe, under those circumstances, to accept the invitation. This is a summit between the leadership and the President and she believes it is a critical opportunity for the respective leadership teams to convey their ideas directly with the President. Throughout this process, Senator Snowe has been sharing her views with the White House and she assured the White House today that she will continue to play a leadership role on this vital issue in the days and weeks after tomorrow’s event.”
It is interesting to note the White House was dismissing Minority Leader Boehner’s call to include Congressman Bart Stupak in the summit while at the same time working around the ground rules.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – 1:00 p.m. – February 25, 2010:
Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (R, Louisana – 2nd), the only Republican to vote for the health reform legislation, says he’s unlikely to do so again. Congressman Cao is Catholic and once prepared for a vocation to the priesthood.
“I have conveyed to the White House that at this point I cannot support the agenda that’s being pushed because of the federal funding for abortion,” Cao said in an interview with CNN. “Unless the abortion language changes, I cannot support the president’s program.”