Transcript: Sebelius, Pawlenty

ROCKEFELLER: Yes, I am going to keep fighting, because it's probably not going to attract more than -- it will probably attract less than 5 percent of the American population. And, you know, Tim -- the governor will say, it's going to track over 100 million. It won't. It won't.

But it's an option. And the very fact that it is there says to the other insurance companies, hey, if we don't bring our costs down, because the public option doesn't have -- they just live on their own premiums...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Another controversy -- let me bring in -- go on to another subject, another controversy the president brought up the other night was he said that no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.

And this is connected to the public option, Governor Pawlenty, because many supporters of the pro-life movement, anti-abortion activists have said, no, that's not true. That the public option that is being considered so far in the House will actually fund abortions.

PAWLENTY: Well, there's an easy way to resolve this. There's a dispute. So just be clear in the bill. If the president is embracing the idea that public monies and public systems won't be used to fund abortions, then we should say that.

And the pro-life perspective on this has been viewed by both and the AP as having merit. So this is not something that people are just making up. There's legitimate concern about it. But it can and should be clarified.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Secretary Sebelius, what's wrong with that, making it explicit in the bill that no public funding should go toward abortions?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think that's what the president intends to do. There's no intent to change the language that's in the current Medicaid statute, which has been there for years and provides insurance to millions of Americans.

And in fact, recently the Catholic bishops came out, after the president's statement, saying that his statement about what he intends in the plan, that no public funds would go to fund abortions, and the fact that he has come out firmly for insuring all Americans and saying it's a moral issue as well as an economic issue, and they endorse moving forward.

So I think that, you know, the legislative language will reflect what the president has just said.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're saying it will go beyond what we have seen so far in the House and explicitly rule out any public funding for abortion?

SEBELIUS: Well, that's exactly what the president said and I think that's what he intends. That the bill he signs will do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I see you nodding your head here, Senator Landrieu, I know this has been a concern of yours.

LANDRIEU: It is a concern of mine. And it's a very important issue. But the bigger issue -- and I agree with the secretary that the president will make this clear...


STEPHANOPOULOS: So that language has to be made clear? It's not there now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think there was a piece of cake in the Taiwan assembly. (LAUGHTER)

Great moments in legislative incivility, coming off of Wednesday night's heckle.

We bring in our roundtable. I'm joined, as always, by George Will, David Brooks of the New York Times, Sam Donaldson, and Coke Roberts.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...