Reports: Stupak says ‘yes’ to health care reform

REPORTS: STUPAK SAYS ‘YES’ TO HEALTH CARE REFORM (OR MAYBE NOT)…. There has not yet been confirmation from the lawmaker himself, but MSNBC is reporting that Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) will support the health care reform legislation today. If accurate, this would not only be a huge development, it might seal the deal and point to success. (See updates below)

Reuters is reporting the same thing, as is the Wall Street Journal.

Democratic leaders have reached a deal with antiabortion Democratic lawmakers aimed at winning votes from at least some of them, an aide said Sunday.

The aide said a bloc of antiabortion lawmakers was set to vote “yes” on the bill. It wasn’t immediately clear how many lawmakers would be won over by the deal or whether it included Rep. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.), the leader of the antiabortion Democrats.

The abortion issue has been one of the final obstacles Democratic leaders have been seeking to remove to win a 216-vote majority in the House for their health-overhaul bill.

Part of the equation, of course, is how many votes Stupak can/will/would bring with him. The size of his voting bloc is the subject of some debate — it’s somewhere between five and eight votes, as of this morning — but if he and his allies are all on board with final passage, 216 votes appear to be secure.

The next question — after official confirmation from Stupak himself — is what became necessary to earn Stupak’s support. Reports suggest it was discussions with the White House over an executive order that won him over, but we do not yet know exactly what that executive order would say.

And in related news, Rep. Brian Baird (D) of Washington state, is reportedly also going to vote “yes,” after having voted “no” in November. Baird is retiring at the end of this term, and has been considered a key pick-up opportunity.

Update: CNN is reportng that Stupak is sitll a “no,” and the Democratic leadership has not yet said anything, either way.

Second Update: Stupak told CNN’s Evan Glass, “There is no deal yet. It’s a work in progress. Maybe we’ll get there today.”

Third Update: Brian Baird confirms that he’s switching from “no” to “yes.”