Senate Democrats on Thursday said they will not pass a bill the House is expected to approve that would keep the federal government funding for another week because it contains a provision banning abortion funding in the nation’s capital.
The bill includes language that would put the ban back in place that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions in the District of Columbia. This language would restore the Dornan amendment to ensure that no congressionally appropriated funds (whether locally or federally generated) may pay for abortion in the District of Columbia. The good news for pro-life advocates is that the inclusion of the Dornan Amendment in the one-week continuing resolution ensures it remains in place to prohibit abortion funding in the nation’s capital for the rest of the year.
Even though former President Clinton signed this policy into law six times and President Barack Obama signed the policy into law for FY09 and voted to continue the policy twice while serving in the U.S. Senate, Obama now opposes a short-term continuing resolution with the language and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said this morning that Democrats will not agree to the legislation.
Reid said on the Senate floor that talks over keeping the federal government running have stalled over abortion and riders on other political issues.
“This issue is ideology, not numbers,” he said, saying “reproductive rights” is one of the issues and that Republican’s one-week funding bill is a “non-starter.”
“It’s not realistic to shut down the government on a debate dealing with abortion,” Reid said. “It’s not fair to the American people. We haven’t solved the issue in 40 years. We’re not going to solve it in the next 38 hours. We should not be distracted by ideology. This is a bill that funds the government.”
He said he and House Speaker John Boehner would meet at the White House later today to discuss the budget further.
“There’s far more than one provision that’s holding up any agreement, I can tell you that,” Boehner said about the various political items keeping Republicans and Democrats from reaching an agreement. He said there is “No agreement on the numbers and no agreement on the policy issues.”
Boehner also condemned the decision by leading Democrats to refuse to accept the one-week funding bill because of abortion and the other riders, saying, “There is no policy reason for the Senate to oppose this bill.”
House Republican lawmakers are growing frustrated with Democrats who are putting abortion ahead of keeping the government running.
“The time has now come for the hapless liberal Democrat elites in the Senate and the White House to make a decision,” pro-life Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina said. “It’s time to decide between acting responsibly, abandoning favorite political alliances, and continuing their failed big-government policies as a solution to all earthly problems.”
Pro-life advocates like Thomas Peters of Catholic Vote are equally frustrated, who says “taxpayer funding of abortion is a sacred cow for the liberal left.”
“Today, with a government shutdown looming, Harry Reid -the leader of the Senate- once again confirms his fundamental commitment to this liberal ideology, even if it runs up against the best interests of the American people (and the unborn),” he said. “Reid is right: it’s about ideology. And his ideology says that abortions in DC absolutely ought to be paid for by Americans like you and me. Why? Because the pro-abortion organizations have most Democrats in their pocket, and Democrats are scared to allow any sort of pro-life advances to be made, up to and including defunding the corrupt organization Planned Parenthood.”
“Remember – abortion funding streams in Obamacare was the final hurdle the Democrats had to overcome to pass their bad bill. Now Democrats are making the retention of abortion funding the final hurdle for Republicans to overcome in actually getting a bill to President Obama’s desk and thereby avoiding a government shutdown for a couple weeks,” Peters said.