Manchin says reconciliation bill must include controversial Hyde Amendment
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said late Wednesday that an expansion of Medicaid that Democrats are seeking to pass as part of their massive reconciliation bill must include the Hyde Amendment to get his support.
“Yeah, we’re not taking the Hyde Amendment off. Hyde’s going to be on,” Manchin told National Review when asked about a proposed Medicaid-like program in the reconciliation bill.
“It has to be. It has to be. That’s dead on arrival if that’s gone,” Manchin, who has described himself as “pro-life, and proud of it,” added.
Under the Hyde Amendment, Medicaid and other federal programs are prohibited from covering abortion expenses. Government spending bills have included the stipulation since 1976.
Some Democrats are pushing to include a Medicaid-like program in the reconciliation package in which the federal government would step in and provide coverage in the 12 GOP-led states that have so far declined to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The Democrats’ proposal does not include language reflecting the Hyde Amendment.
Democrats are trying to move a massive spending package that could include the Medicaid language through a process known as budget reconciliation, which prevents it from being filibustered. This means they could move the package through the Senate with no GOP votes, but they cannot afford a single Democratic defection.
Bills have been routinely passed with Hyde Amendment language for years, but doing so has grown much more controversial among Democrats, and the new debate would come as many Democrats worry over access to abortion rights given state laws limiting the practice.
Texas recently approved a law that essentially outlaws abortions six weeks into the pregnancy.
President Biden had backed the Hyde Amendment for decades, but reversed his position ahead of the 2020 presidential election under pressure from progressives, who have long said the law discriminates against minorities. His budget did not include Hyde language.
Manchin is a critical vote on the budget reconciliation package, and has called for the measure to be reduced from the $3.5 trillion size favored by liberals.
On Wednesday, Manchin did say he could support the passage of a reconciliation package with Democratic priorities before the end of 2021.
“I think we can get a good bill done. I really do, and work in good faith,” Manchin said.
“I’m fine. If we can get it done, sure. Let’s roll our sleeves up and do it,” he added.
The Hill has reached out to Manchin’s office for comment.