Saturday, April 6, 2019

Pro-Life Committee Activity Update

During an appropriations subcommittee hearingRep. Andy Harris (R-MD) questioned NIH Director Francis Collins on the ongoing research using fetal tissue (aborted babies) currently being funded through NIH.

During a mark-up the House Energy and Commerce Committee took up 14 bills.

The mark-up included H.R. 1425, the State Health Care Premium Reduction Act, sponsored by Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN). H.R. 1425 establishes cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) and reinsurance without necessary safeguards to prevent these sources of taxpayer funding from going to insurance plans that cover abortion.

During consideration, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute (ANS) that would have included Hyde protections to prevent taxpayer dollars from funding insurance plans that cover abortion. After speaking on this ANS, Rep. Burgess withdrew it, indicating that he was interested in offering it again if H.R. 1425 is considered on the House floor.

Afterward, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) offered an amendment that would also have included Hyde protections. Rep. McMorris Rodgers said, “This is the same vote that Members of Congress have taken since 1976… in fact 4,072 votes. Which affirms the longstanding, bipartisan consensus that federal dollars should not pay for abortion…”

The mark-up also included H.R. 1386, the ENROLL Act of 2019, sponsored by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL). This bill amended the Affordable Care Act (ACA) related to the Navigators, individuals or organizations trained to help consumers find and enroll for plans on the ACA exchange.

During consideration, Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) offered an amendment to require ACA navigators disclose whether a plan that is being considered covers abortion and what the monthly surcharge is for that coverage. Rep. Latta explained, “Under current Obama-era regulation, many consumers who sign up for coverage on the exchanges end up paying a hidden abortion surcharge as part of their monthly premium.”

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) spoke in favor of Rep. Latta’s amendment.

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