Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Financial Services Appropriations Mark-Up

Today the House Committee on Appropriations passed the FY2021 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill by a vote of 30 to 22.

Longstanding Pro-Life Protections Retained:
  • FEDERAL EMPLOYEE HEALTH BENEFITS—Programs Funding Ban (SMITH)—ban on funding of abortions through the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program, except in the instances of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
  • FEHBP CONSCIENCE PROTECTION—conscience protections for health care personnel and providers
  • DC CONSCIENCE INTENT OF CONGRESS—intent of Congress that any DC imposed contraceptive mandate should include a conscience clause.

The bill altered the Dornan Amendment (also known as the D.C. Hyde Amendment), which prevents appropriated funds (federal or D.C. revenue) from paying for abortion in the District of Columbia by inserting the word “federal,” which would allow appropriated local funds to pay for abortion.

The Dornan Amendment was gutted in a similar way from 2009 through part of 2011. During that period of time, D.C. paid for 300 abortions (AP report).

During the full committee mark-up, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) offered an amendment to restore the original Dornan Amendment. The following Members spoke in support of the Aderholt Amendment:

Appropriations Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) said, “US Constitution gives the Congress authority over the District of Columbia. It’s our policy that taxpayer funds should not be used to fund abortion. The President has announced that he will veto any legislation that weakens current pro-life federal policies and law.”

Ranking Member Tom Graves (R-GA) noted that the amendment had “been supported in a bipartisan fashion for years.”

The Aderholt Amendment was defeated by voice vote.

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