Vice President Mike Pence appealed to prominent anti-abortion lawmakers on Monday night to support the House Obamacare replacement bill, touting “pro-life” provisions in the bill as a reason to vote “yes.”
During a White House meeting with the GOP leaders of the congressional pro-life caucus, Pence pitched the group on some of the bill’s restrictions on abortion, including one major change to the bill expected to be announced Monday that pro-lifers say is essential to their support.
His arguments, as well as the recent change to the bill, convinced some members like Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) to support the bill. But others in the meeting, like House Freedom Caucus member Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), have yet to commit.
“I haven’t said how I’m going to vote one way or another; I’ve just said the way to get me to ‘yes’ is to assuage any concerns I have on pro-life provisions being eliminated … in the Senate,” Franks said, referring to a concern that the Senate parliamentarian will strike the language in the other chamber. “It’s a huge issue — one of the main concerns I have is to make sure we don’t lose the pro-life provisions in the senate.”
Pence, a social conservative, is know among the House rank-and-file for his strong anti-abortion views. It’s one of the reasons, in fact, that members like Franks admire him so much, something Franks reaffirmed Monday after the meeting — even if he has not yet backed the bill.
Hartzler told POLITICO she changed her vote to yes this weekend upon learning the latest on anti-abortion changes to the bill, which essentially ensure health care tax credits cannot be used for plans that cover abortions.
“I did share that as of this weekend I have decided to support it after I got some assurances from some pro-life provisions and other aspects being addressed,” she said. “We were there to appreciate his efforts to ensure the bill remains pro-life, so we had a good discussion about that.”
The meeting come just a few days after the National Right to Life announced that it was not only supporting the bill but would key vote it. The significance of that full-throated endorsement cannot be understated, as it carries a lot of weight with House Republicans, including Franks.