Stupak’s office coordinates attacks with GOP, religious right

STUPAK’S OFFICE COORDINATES ATTACKS WITH GOP, RELIGIOUS RIGHT…. Rep. Bart Stupak (D. Mich.) held the House reform bill hostage in November, forcing an odious anti-abortion amendment into the legislation. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) worked very hard to insert the same language into the Senate bill — and very nearly killed the entire health care reform initiative — but came up short and had to settle for a compromise.

The compromise isn’t exactly a pro-choice victory. While right-wing lawmakers have condemned the agreement, and progressive lawmakers have given it their blessing, the new measure places burdensome restrictions on women receiving coverage through federally subsidized insurance who may want to exercise their legally-protected reproductive rights. The burdens are severe enough that the National Organization for Women insists that the compromise be scuttled or the entire legislation should be killed.

And while NOW targets the compromise from the left, Stupak is working with an interesting group of friends to attack the compromise from the right.

An aide to Rep. Bart Stupak (D. Mich.) coordinated opposition to a Senate compromise on the place of abortion in health care legislation this morning with the Republican Senate leadership, the Conference Catholic Bishops, and other anti-abortion groups, according to a chain of frantic emails obtained this morning by POLITICO. […]

Stupak is the leader of a group of pro-life Democrats who say they’ll oppose the sweeping legislation if it uses government money to pay for abortion, while [Senate Minority Leader McConnell] is firmly committed to killing the legislation. The fact that their offices have made common cause against the Senates health care compromise will likely further infuriate Stupak’s Democratic colleagues in the House, and demonstrates his willingness to stop any bill that doesn’t pass his test.

Stupak’s office, the emails show, coordinated first thing this morning with Republican leaders’ offices, the Catholic Bishops, the National Right to Life, and the Family Research Council, a powerful religious right group.

The Michigan Democrat later disavowed his staffer’s collaboration with the GOP leadership, but the damage appears to be done. When a Democratic lawmaker’s office is coordinating attacks with Republicans and the religious right on the Democratic Party’s signature domestic policy priority of the last seven decades, goodwill in the caucus is likely to disappear.