Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have passed health care reform bills. These two bills now go to conference committee, where House and Senate conferees will be charged with resolving differences and producing one common bill. That bill will then be voted on by each chamber, with an up or down vote, no further amendments allowed.
House: On November 7, 2009, during floor debate on the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962), the House approved, 240 to 193, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, to enact a permanent ban on federal funding of elective abortions or health plans that include such abortions. The House then narrowly passed H.R. 3962.
Senate: On December 8, 2009, during floor debate on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), the Senate voted to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment, 54-yes, 45-no. This amendment, like the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, would prevent the legislation from mandating abortion coverage or providing federal funds for coverage of elective abortions. On Christmas Eve, after defeating votes to continue the process of debating and amending its bill, the Senate passed H.R. 3590.
The work to produce a one common bill will begin immediately. Votes in House and Senate on this bill are expected in January. Provisions against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights for health care providers must be a part of a fair and just health care reform bill, or the final bill must be opposed. Please contact your Representative and Senators today!
ACTION: Contact Members through e-mail, phone calls or FAX letters. 1) To send an e-mail, click here. 2) Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices. Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
MESSAGE—SENATE: "I am deeply disappointed that the Senate-passed health care reform bill fails to maintain the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion and does not include adequate protection for conscience rights. In the conference committee process, I urge you to do what you can to reverse the decision of the Senate. If this effort fails, I urge you to vote against the bill on final passage.”
MESSAGE—HOUSE: “I am pleased that the House-passed health care reform bill maintains the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortion. I urge you work to ensure that essential provisions against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights are included in a bill produced in conference committee. If this effort fails, I urge you to vote against the bill on final passage.”
WHEN: Votes in House and Senate on a final common bill are expected in January. Thanks!