Saturday, March 13, 2021

Pro-Life implications of Senate changes to the American Rescue Plan (H.R. 1319)

After passing the House two weeks ago, the Senate modified the American Rescue Plan and sent it back to the House last week. The following are among the changes made by the Senate:

The provisions below increases the amount of funding available in the bill that is not Hyde protected:

Section 9911: Appropriates $8.5 billion for the Provider Relief Fund. This funding lacks Hyde protections, so it could be used to directly pay for abortions. It could also be used to bail out abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

Section 9501: Increases the COBRA subsidy available in this bill to 100% of the premium. Currently, individuals who lose their jobs are eligible to continue their employer-based health insurance for 18 months, but they must pay 102% of the total premium. The House-passed bill required the federal government to cover 85% of the premium through September 30, 2021. The Senate-passed bill increases this subsidy to 100%. Many employer-based health care plans include coverage for elective abortion, and there is no protection in place to prevent taxpayer dollars from covering those plans.

The Senate-passed bill would prevent Planned Parenthood from accessing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding:

The House-passed bill would have waived the PPP affiliation rule for non-profit organizations, allowing Planned Parenthood to apply for and receive PPP funding.

This provision was challenged by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee, as violating the Byrd Rule. It was subsequently removed from the bill, a move celebrated by the House Small Business Committee.

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