Joe Manchin is proving once again to be one of the most powerful members of the Senate.
The pro-life Democrat from West Virginia is the only member of the Senate Democrat caucus to oppose abortion but his position is putting him in a powerful spot as he works with pro-life Republicans to oppose any efforts to weaken or remove the Hyde Amendment that has stopped taxpayer funding of abortions for decades.
When Joe Biden took over the White House he did so with a promise to abortion activists that he would work with Congressional Democrats to overturn the Hyde Amendment. Though he had supported the amendment in the past, he ditched even that very modest support to become a full-fledged abortion activist supporting killing babies in abortions up to birth at taxpayer expense.
Now, as Politico reports, Manchin’s opposition to killing the Hyde amendment is throwing a kink in Democrats’ plans.
First, pro-life Republicans will absolutely not bend on supporting Hyde:
Though Democrats won’t publicly admit it, they’re soon set to concede defeat on federal funding for abortion.
After months of tense negotiations, the two parties joined together last week on a government spending framework they insist will swiftly lead to a massive deal to boost agency bottom lines into the fall. Officially, they’re agreeing to save specific policy disputes for later, including the longtime debate over the half-century ban on federal funding for abortions, known as the Hyde amendment. But Republicans are already declaring victory in that battle.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), his party’s top appropriator in the Senate, said after that cross-party accord that the Hyde amendment “absolutely” needs to be included, or else Democrats won’t get the Republican support they need to pass the bill through the 50-50 Senate.
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“There wouldn’t be any bill at all if we didn’t have those in there. The legacy riders have to be in there,” Shelby told reporters on Thursday.
Shelby is saying plainly what Democrats have known since they locked up control of Washington last year: Their promise of finally kicking the decades-old ban on abortion funding is almost certain to fail due to Senate Republicans, like so many of their other policy ambitions.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated the GOP’s red line on the issue in a speech on the floor this month, saying: “The Hyde amendment prevents taxpayers from having to pay taxes for abortions. In a 50-50 Senate, we need to honor the bipartisan status quo.”
Second, with Manchin on board to preserve Hyde, Democrats have all but lost the fight.
But Democrats fighting to hold only their slim majorities in both chambers currently lack the votes to push through a repeal of Hyde — not only because of across-the-board opposition from Republicans but also because Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and a handful of Senate Democrats similarly oppose unwinding the funding ban.
The radical pro-abortion leftists are not happy about the developments.
There is mounting frustration among Democrats’ progressive base that the party — despite controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House — not only haven’t passed new protections for abortion rights, but may now go along with an extension of the half-century old federal funding ban.
“The stakes for abortion care could not be higher right now,” said Destiny Lopez, the co-president of the group All* Above All. “Congress needs to be doing everything in its power to stymie anything that stands in the way of people getting access to abortion care in this country. We need them to take bold stands here.”
Writing for Hot Air, conservative columnist Ed Morrissey notes Manchin’s role as the Hyde preserver.
During last summer’s budget negotiations, Senate Democrat Joe Manchin insisted that the Hyde Amendment and its example of bipartisan compromise had to remain in place.
“Repealing this provision,” Manchin and Wicker wrote, ” would eliminate over 40 years of bipartisan precedent.” Attempting to eliminate it over Manchin’s objections would leave Senate Democrats with only 49 votes, not enough to pass a Hyde-less budget bill even in reconciliation.
In other words, the writing has been on the wall since Chuck Schumer got control of the Senate in January 2021. So why have Democrats continued to stoke expectations that they would finally uncork Medicaid funding for abortion on demand? The same reason that Schumer and the Senate progressives kept insisting that they would pass a massive progressive spend-o-rama in reconciliation in the midst of a massive inflation wave, and pledging they would eliminate the filibuster. They either can’t do math, or they’re too afraid to tell the truth and set expectations more rationally.
That leaves Democrats in a very bad position if the Supreme Court delivers the expected result in Dobbs. They will have lost on all fronts, largely because they keep overpromising and underdelivering to their Academia elite while ignoring the real economic issues of the working class. As a result, they’ll have almost no one to come to their rescue in November … except the hope of hand-overplaying Republicans.