Washington (CNN) – Just a day before the health care bill was expected to go up for a House vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday there would
be no separate vote on restricting taxpayer funding for abortion.
"Not on abortion, not on abortion, not on public option, not on single payer, not on anything," Pelosi told CNN.
The speaker was responding to a question about a request by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, for the House to vote on his language restricting taxpayer funding for abortion.
Stupak postponed a news conference Saturday, and did not immediately comment on the issue.
On Friday, he told CNN he was in talks with Pelosi, D-California.
Washington (CNN) - Civil rights icon and veteran Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, said anti-health care bill protesters Saturday repeatedly yelled the "N" word at him as he left a heath care meeting and walked to the Capitol.
"I haven't seen heard anything like this in more than 40 years, maybe 45." Lewis said. "Since the march from Selma to Montgomery really."
"Yeah, but it's okay," Lewis added. "I've faced this before. So, it reminded me of the 60's. There's a lot of downright hate and anger and people are just being downright mean."
The incident was confirmed by Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indiana, who was walking with Lewis at the time. Protesters were yelling, "'kill the bill, kill the bill' and the 'N' word several times," Carson said.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, released a statement late Saturday saying he too was called the "N" word as he walked to the Capitol for a vote and that he was spat on by one protestor who was arrested by U.S. Capitol Police. Cleaver declined to press charges against the man, the statement said.
Protesters also hurled anti-gay comments at Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, who is openly gay, as he left the same health care meeting that Lewis attended in a House office building.
Washington (CNN) - Chanting "We are the change," hundreds of anti-war protesters gathered across from the White House on Saturday, the seventh anniversary of the war in Iraq.
More than a dozen speakers, including politician Ralph Nader and anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, addressed the crowd before the group marched through Washington. Protesters delivered symbolic coffins draped with international flags to the offices of Halliburton - a controversial energy services company once helmed by former Vice President Dick Cheney - and the White House.
Police arrested five people after they laid down by the coffins in front of the White House.
"Is the honeymoon over with that war criminal in the Oval Office?" yelled Sheehan during the rally before the march, to shouts of agreement from the crowd. "Why are we giving him a free pass when he didn't deserve it?"
Washington (CNN) - President Obama said Saturday that after a year of debate, Congress is on the threshold of passing health care reform legislation.
"This piece of historic legislation is built on the private insurance system that we have now and runs straight down the center of American political thought," he told lawmakers Saturday.
"We are making sure that the system of private insurance works for ordinary families," he said, calling the legislation a "patient's bill of rights on steroids" and "the toughest insurance reform in history."
The bill is expected to go up for a House vote on Sunday.
"If you agree that the system is not working for ordinary families, if you've heard the same stories that I've heard everywhere, all across the country, then help us fix the system," Obama said in urging lawmakers to pass the bill. "
Washington (CNN) - A personal meeting with the president hasn't persuaded him. Conversations with party leaders hasn't changed his mind either.
But Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch's stance against the health care legislation has even withstood the invocation of his state's patron saint of politics: Sen. Ted Kennedy.
A few days ago Lynch received a phone call from Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late senator, who implored him to support the health care legislation despite any misgivings he has with the bill.
"She said Ted had worked at this for quite some time and invoked his memory," Lynch told CNN. "[It was the] same kind of conversation I had with the president: the strengths of the bills, the shortfalls, but that we have to do something."
Washington (CNN) - The Democratic leaders have decided to abandon the controversial plan to avoid a direct vote on the Senate health care bill, known as deem and pass.
Instead, multiple Democratic sources told CNN that they will have three independent votes - a vote on the rule, a vote on the fix package, followed by a vote on the Senate bill.
Previously, Democrats did not think they could pass the fixes before the bill. But they have been assured by the Senate parliamentarian that it is possible.
Washington (CNN) - The House Rules Committee began meeting Saturday to determine the official rules for the debate and vote on the health care overhaul, a day ahead of an expected House vote.
The committee is expected to determine whether the House will vote Sunday on a rule that would simply "deem" the Senate bill - a sweeping $875 billion reform plan that cleared the Senate in December - passed. The House then would proceed to a separate vote on another $65 billion in compromise changes to the measure.
"You all in the minority continue to say what the American people think," Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Florida, said during a particularly spirited portion of the meeting.
"You don't know what all of the American people think. And you certainly don't know what those in my constituency think."
(CNN) - Liz Carpenter, a Texas journalist who became a presidential press aide in the Lyndon Johnson White House, died Saturday at the age of 89, according to the Johnson family.
Carpenter served as an aide and press spokesman to Johnson when he was vice president, but she was named press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson when she became the first lady.
"Liz was Mother and Daddy's dawn to midnight 'can do' supporter," Luci Johnson, the president's daughter, said in a written statement. "She had boundless imagination, a rare gift for words, limitless curiosity, a rich sense of humor, a fear of flying and practically no fear of anything else."
Carpenter died at an Austin, Texas hospital of natural causes Saturday, according to Tom Johnson, the former CNN chairman who served with Carpenter in the LBJ administration.
President Obama heads to Capitol Hill Saturday in a final push before the House votes on the latest version of the health care bill. (Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - President Obama plans to address the House Democratic caucus Saturday to make a final plea for the health care overhaul, a day ahead of an expected House vote.
Four Democratic officials familiar with the plans told CNN on Friday that the president will speak Saturday to the lawmakers. The pitch will be made on Capitol Hill, White House aides said. No further details were immediately available.
The House of Representatives is set to vote Sunday on a sweeping $875 billion reform plan that cleared the Senate in December, as well as another $65 billion in compromise changes to the measure.