Conservatives want anti-abortion rights language in next funding extension

Social conservatives are warning House GOP leaders they could oppose a measure to fund the government for three weeks that does not include anti-abortion rights language.

Republicans released a measure Friday afternoon that would fund the government for three weeks and cut $6 billion in spending the rest of this year.

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It did not include anti-abortion rights measures to defund Planned Parenthood, which are favored by social conservatives and were included in a measure already approved by the House that wound fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said the panel was still evaluating the proposal but was “very concerned” about the exclusion of anti-abortion rights amendments.

“There’s nothing wrong with making first downs, but at some point we need to get to the end zone,” he said of the measure being crafted by GOP leaders.

Jordan would not say definitively whether he would oppose a stopgap measure that lacked the anti-abortion rights provisions.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) told The Hill that “more and more” social conservatives may oppose a measure that does not include language defunding Planned Parenthood or the president’s healthcare law.

“We need to pass what we think should be in it, send it over to the Senate and let them deal with it,” Pitts said.

Asked how many lawmakers agreed with his position, Pitts said “more and more.”

Pitts and other Republicans are coming under new pressure to oppose the bill from conservative groups. The Family Research Council, Club for Growth and Heritage Action on Friday urged opposition to the GOP measure, and said they would negatively record votes in favor of it.

The Family Research Council specifically mentioned the Planned Parenthood language in the release.

GOP leaders believe the language would make the legislation tougher to pass in the Senate. If Congress does not approve a new funding measure, the government could shut down after March 18. Both parties want to avoid blame for a shutdown.

President Obama on Friday warned Republicans not to wage a battle over social issues in the spending measure.

“If Republicans are interested in social issues that they want to promote, they should put a bill on the floor of the House and promote it, have an up-or-down vote, send it over to the Senate,” Obama said. “But don't try to use the budget as a way to promote a political or ideological agenda.”

House GOP leaders seem confident that they can move a clean funding measure.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told reporters on Friday that he “thinks [GOP leadership] will be OK,” in garnering majority support for their measure.

He noted that H.R. 1, which would fund the government through September, included the social conservatives’ priorities.

“H.R. 1 contained the social issues to their great pleasure, and what we're doing now simply is to extend the time during which we can hopefully get the Senate to agree to those provisions,” he said.

Other members of the conference were more concerned that the three-week extension didn't cut enough funding. One member of the GOP whip operation said: “Some would like to see more (cuts). I’ve got some leaners.”

This GOP source said there is support for the new measure, but that it will be more difficult in the future.

“It's just going to get harder after this,” the source said.