Lawmakers in Congress have been debating and negotiating for months over a spending plan proposed by President Biden.
The “Build Back Better Act” is what some call the “largest piece of legislation in the history of the world,” and would spend $3.5 trillion on “some of the Left’s favored projects” like “combatting climate change … [and] ‘free’ preschool and community college.”
It would create “the largest expansion of the federal safety net in nearly six decades,” according to The New York Times.
Additionally, some Democrats want to use the bill to create a new “Medicaid-like” initiative that would create “a new … program administered entirely by the federal government for low-income residents in the twelve states that chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.”
House Democrats have moved to create this program without the Hyde amendment, which prohibits taxpayers’ dollars from directly funding abortions.
Without this provision, the new program would pay for abortions for those covered by it.
However, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is standing firmly against this new pro-abortion provision.
On Wednesday outside the U.S. Capitol building, Manchin had the following, brief conversation with National Review:
National Review: Senator, you’ve been very firm on keeping the Hyde amendment on the appropriations bills. Are you concerned about that issue at all in reconciliation—
NR: —with this new Medicaid program?
Manchin: Yeah, we’re not taking the Hyde amendment off. Hyde’s going to be on.
National Review: In the new Medicaid program?
Manchin: It has to be. It has to be. That’s dead-on-arrival if that’s gone.
What makes Manchin’s comments important is that Democrats are planning to use a process known as “reconciliation” to pass the spending plan – this process requires only 50 votes in the Senate for a bill to become law.
The U.S. Senate is currently divided between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. If all Republicans refuse to support the spending plan, which is likely, it takes only one Democrat senator to defeat the bill – or request changes to it to earn their support.
Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a different appropriations bill that didn’t include the Hyde Amendment for the first time in 45 years. The bill, which provided funding for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments, among others, (HR4502), passed the House on July 29 in a 219-208 vote.
However, it is currently being considered by the Senate where it faces steep odds because it requires 60 votes to become law.
In January 2021, a Knights of Columbus/Marist poll found that 58% of Americans oppose using taxpayer money to fund abortions, including 31% of Democrats and 65% of Independents.
For now, it appears that because of senators’ objections to the absence of the Hyde amendment in both the reconciliation bill and in HR4502, pro-life Americans can take comfort that their money won’t directly fund abortions domestically.
Photo from Shutterstock.