Washington (CNN) - The divisive issue of abortion is once again causing eleventh hour problems for House Democrats as they plan to move forward on health care reform.
Anti-abortion Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan is asking for a vote on his language restricting taxpayer funding for abortion, and a group of female abortion rights Democrats came out of an emergency meeting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office Friday evening visibly angry about the prospect.
Rep. Diana Degette, D-Colorado, told reporters a vote on Stupak's measure was a "non starter" and said "somewhere between 40 and 55" abortion rights Democrats would bolt from the bill.
"We are holding firm this time," she insisted. "If Mr. Stupak and a few members along with the Republicans decide to use this to take health care down, that loss of health care will be in their hands."
It's not yet clear how seriously Democratic leaders are considering allowing a vote on Stupak's abortion language, or in what form.
But Stupak told CNN he is in discussions with Pelosi.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - A year and a half after Lehman Brothers' collapse, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is calling for a federal investigation into the "Lehman situation" and other companies that may have fudged their balance sheets, contributing to the financial crisis.
"We must work tirelessly to reduce the incidence of financial fraud in order to restore trust and confidence in the financial markets," Dodd wrote in a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday.
Washington (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday declared that Justice Department lawyers, criticized for past representation of Guantanamo Bay prison detainees, are patriots who deserve to be praised.
"Let me be clear about this: Lawyers who provide counsel for the unpopular are - and should be treated as what they are - patriots," Holder told a friendly audience.
The crowd, gathered at a Washington hotel to honor voluntary free legal services for indigent criminal and terror suspects, burst into applause when Holder defended his attorneys.
Holder did not mention the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or al Qaeda by name, nor even refer directly to terrorism, but left no doubt to whom he was referring.
"Right now, I am a firm no, because I do believe that the Senate language on the abortion issue is insufficient for me to support the Senate bill," Rep. Ahn "Joseph" Cao, R-Louisiana, told CNN's Brianna Keilar,
The Louisiana Republican said his concern was that the final legislative package unveiled Thursday by Democrats does not apply to the Hyde Amendment, the longstanding policy against federal funding of abortions, to the federal dollars provided to community health centers.
Cao also said that he thought the language in the Senate bill, which is set for consideration by the House, does not do enough to comply with the Hyde Amendment.
"The present language in the Senate bill provides a tremendous loophole for federal funds of abortion and will eventually expand abortion services," he said.
Cao added, "Based on my reading of the Senate bill, many of the fundings through the health care reform bill will not be subject to the Hyde Amendment."
(CNN) - Should the Democrats' health care reform bill make it to President Obama's desk, at least two Republican state attorneys general are prepared to file a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.
South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster told CNN he and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum are ready to take issue with a controversial provision known as "the cornhusker kickback" that exempted the state of Nebraska from paying for Medicare costs and with another provision that mandates all Americans buy health insurance.
The provision giving special treatment to Nebraska was not included in the House bill unveiled Thursday but the legislation must be returned to the Senate before final passage. Democratic leaders have vowed that provision is dead but thirteen other attorney generals in addition to McMaster and McCollum have already signed on to the plan to file a lawsuit if the so-called "cornhusker kickback" is included in any final version of the bill signed by Obama.
But even if that controversial provision is removed, McMaster and McCollum say the bill's individual mandate provision is an unconstitutional encroachment on state authority as protected by the 10th Amendment - the part of the Constitution that provides all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government continue to remain with the states.
(CNN) - Rep. Joe Courtney, the Connecticut Democrat who had been undecided on how he would vote on the latest version of the House health care bill, announced on CNN Friday he will support the bill.
"We've spent the last 24 hours reviewing the package, which was finally released yesterday afternoon as well as the [Congressional Budget Office's] score," Courtney told CNN's Ali Velshi, "and I'm satisfied that there are adequate changes made to the Senate bill, the base bill, that address the issues that kept me in the undeclared column."
Courtney voted in favor of the original House bill late last year.