Yesterday's report that Dems were leaving Stupak behind was greeted, justifiably, with skepticism. After all, following the hourly developments in the process is enough to cause whiplash.
But today the Stupak story is confirmed, at least on the part of one Dem leader, Steny Hoyer.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters this morning that Democrats "have not discussed a third way" and that when he spoke with Stupak (D-MI) about the abortion provisions he wants in the measure, "I made it clear that I wasn't negotiating."
"We don't want to go without their votes, but we do want to forge ahead, and as you know Mr. Stupak has made it very very clear that he's very strongly in favor of achieving health care in this Congress. And I think that a lot of his colleagues feel the same way," Hoyer said.
The majority leader said that as Congress nears a final vote it's clear the abortion provisions Stupak wants inserted into the health care legislation can't be addressed in the budget reconciliation bill that House Democrats need to pass.
Asked if the case was closed, Hoyer said: "We'll have to deal with that pretty much as it is at this point in time."
That's a bit convoluted, but seems to mean that it can't go in the reconciliation fix, so it ain't happening. Case closed? Given Stupak and the Bishops ability to move levers, I'm not quite willing to believe that he might not find another monkey wrench. We'll see if Stupak actually produces the dozen warm bodies he says he has to block this. But it seems unlikely that leadership would be willing to cut him loose now if they thought he had a definitive chunk of supporters.