Today on Hardball, Jim Cooper was on to discuss the Stupak amendment and how the House and Senate can work through it to reach a compromise. He had a long conversation with Chris Matthews about how conservative Democrats needed this vote to sign on to the bill. He said that people were confused about how to best maintain the Hyde Amendment status quo, among other things. He said that the bill is likely to be changed, and that the Senate could choose to move it away from the Stupak amendment in the end. He chastised the Rules Committee for distributing language that the Stupak Amendment codified the Hyde Amendment when that was the language from Stupak himself, and he said that the amendment would in fact, for the first time, restrict indirect taxpayer subsidies of reproductive choice services, rather than direct ones. He said that employers get a deduction of health care expenses on corporate taxes, and yet the Hyde Amendment doesn’t cover that employer-based health care even though there are indirect subsidies for it.
He talked like a college professor, weighing the pros and cons from afar, without mentioning that he voted for the Stupak Amendment.
And Chris Matthews never mentioned that he voted for it, either.
Similarly, Ezra Klein interviewed Jim Cooper today and let him blather on about the Stupak Amendment and how he understood it better than anyone in the House, again without ever revealing that he voted for it. And Klein never pressed him on that.
I mean, read this argument from Cooper:
Before the Stupak amendment, many of my friends had not realized that the government gives a $250 billion annual subsidy to employer-sponsored health care. If you understand today’s system, the Hyde amendment bans direct subsidies of abortion. It does not ban indirect subsidies of abortion, in particular the $250 billion that goes to employer-based health care. The bishops never noticed that. But this is the way education works in a democracy. It’s not easy or simple. But when people begin making decisions, they learn about lots of things they never noticed before.
It’s the same with procedural things. In the Rules Committee’s explanation of the Stupak amendment, they said flat out that the Stupak amendment codifies the Hyde amendment. Most people didn’t realize that that’s the description from the Stupak amendment’s advocates, not necessarily the judgment of the Rules Committee’s staff. Like many things in Congress, lots of folks did not pay attention to the details. It looked like it just continued current law. But this turned out to be very important.
Right, so only the wise Jim Cooper understood the implications of the Stupak Amendment. And he went ahead and voted for it. So then I can assume that Jim Cooper wants to ban abortion coverage for everyone who receives coverage from an employer, since they are the recipient of indirect federal subsidies. Cooper is effectively saying that there should be no abortion coverage whatsoever. That’s his words, not mine.
(By the way, Matthews had Kent Conrad on as well to talk about the Stupak Amendment without revealing that Conrad voted for similar language in the Senate Finance Committee. The lack of disclosure is simply amazing.)