One week after the incoming chairman of a key congressional subcommittee told HUMAN EVENTS he plans to introduce the Stupak-Pitts amendment as separate legislation, the White House won’t say whether the president will sign the measure to ban coverage of abortions by tax dollars in the federal health care package — even though Mr. Obama said in March that an executive order he signed would achieve the same goal as Stupak-Pitts (which was eliminated in passage of the final version of the health care bill).
At the White House press briefing yesterday morning, I cited our interview with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), incoming chairman of the health subcommittee of the House Energy Committee, in which he said he would offer Stupak-Pitts as a separate bill next year and predicted passage in the new Congress. Would the president sign the bill that Pitts is talking about if it comes to his desk, I asked.
“I’m not familiar with that statement [by Pitts],” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied, promising to have “someone from our health team get back to you.”
Pitts has been talking about offering the legislation he co-sponsored as a separate bill since the health care measure was passed in March of this year. The intentions to offer it have taken on new meaning and attention since Republicans will control the House, Pitts will chair the health subcommittee, and incoming House Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) says “he will move on [Stupak-Pitts] quickly,” Pitts told us.
“The president said his executive order does the same thing that the legislation would have done,” a Pitts spokesman told us after Gibbs’ remark, “All this does is codify what he said he would do.”