By Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, June 11, 2019
House Democrats who were eager to try to remove decades-old anti-abortion language from a spending bill have backed down on the push.
Democratic leaders rejected an effort by progressives to amend a House spending bill with a provision that would strip out the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer funding of abortions.
“I think we don’t have the votes that we need,” Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who sponsored the amendment, said. “It’s frustrating. I actually think the country is with us.”
Jayapal and other progressive Democrats acknowledged the move to eliminate the 43-year-old Hyde language would be blocked in the GOP-led Senate and would never be signed into law by President Trump.
Removing the Hyde language from the $190 billion Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill would only serve to jeopardize passage of the measure, which funds critical health and labor programs, they said.
“I would repeal it tomorrow, and I think that is overwhelmingly the feeling in our caucus,” Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Kathleen Clark said Tuesday, when asked about the effort to take out he Hyde Amendment.
“But at this point … we felt that the Hyde Amendment was going to become a focal point that would collapse everything in the Labor-H bill that is so good for American families.”
Democrats running for president have called for repealing the Hyde language.
Front-runner Joe Biden, who long supported the Hyde language, announced last week he is now opposed to it, aligning himself with his progressive competitors seeking the Democratic nomination.
Biden said the Hyde Amendment interferes with women’s access to healthcare.
Jayapal said the issue has now become politicized.
“It’s a political issue that is being used for political gain and it shouldn’t be because it’s a personal issue and it’s a constitutional issue,” Jayapal said.