GOP flags past Dem support for ban on taxpayer-funded abortion in DC

Democrats have no excuse to object to a measure to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion in Washington, D.C., contained in Republicans' bill to extend government funding for another week, House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office said Thursday.

Contained within the legislation on which the House will vote today, which would cut $12 billion from the federal budget and guarantee funding for the Department of Defense for the rest of this year, will be a provision to ban taxpayer-funded abortions in D.C.

And Republicans said that Democrats, including President Obama and Vice President Biden, have no reason not to support it.

"Americans are concerned not just about how much we're spending, but how we're spending it," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). "That's why the policy provisions are an important part of this discussion."

Boehner's office points out that the provision to ban taxpayer-funded abortions in D.C. has enjoyed long support, releasing a research dump outlining different Democratic leaders' support for the abortion funding ban in D.C. to help make the case for their one-week continuing resolution.

Obama has signed a previous spending bill into law containing the provision, and twice voted for legislation containing the ban on taxpayer-funded abortions in the Senate. Vice President Biden also cast seven votes in favor of similar measures during his time in the Senate.

Boehner's office pointed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) support for legislation containing the measure in the pass, as well as a 1996 vote in favor of the ban as a standalone amendment.

The office of the GOP Speaker, who is locked in a debate over funding the government for the remainder of this fiscal year, highlighted similar support for legislation containing the D.C. abortion rider by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and other top Democrats over the years.

The House is expected to approve the one-week continuing resolution in a vote sometime on Thursday.

Democrats in the Senate have said they wouldn't support such a measure, though the pressure of an impending government shutdown at the end of Friday could force them to relent.

President Obama has said he's open to a very short continuing resolution if only to allow a finalized deal to clear procedural hurdles. The president has also said he would only support such a measure if it's "clean," meaning that it's absent any attached riders Democrats might find distasteful.

The inclusion of the ban on taxpayer-funded abortion in D.C. in many ways mirrors the inclusion of a rider in the larger legislation passed by Republicans to fund the government the rest of the fiscal year. That rider would rescind federal support to Planned Parenthood, and this provision is now being blamed by Democrats for holding up a final agreement on a spending bill.

"The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday on the Senate floor. 

Updated 10:57 a.m.