Democrats push women’s health amendment in fight over spending cuts

Committee Republicans said they support funding for preventive services but that the money should come from the usual spending process, rather than a general fund at the Health and Human Services Department. Repealing the prevention fund would save the government roughly $12 billion over the next 10 years.

A vote on Schakowsky's amendment was postponed until the end of the markup.

Democrats are aggressively trying to widen their advantage with women voters ahead of the November elections, and preventive health services for women have been at the core of that push.

The “war on women” attack reached its peak during the intense debate over a White House order requiring most businesses to cover contraception in their employees’ health plans. The mandate was based on expert recommendations that said birth control should be covered as a preventive service.

Republicans hammered the mandate and vowed to pass an exemption for certain religious-affiliated employers. But GOP missteps, including a hearing with an all-male witness panel, helped feed Democrats’ narrative that the debate was fundamentally about women’s health.

Congressional Republicans backed off their proposal but insisted that they were only concerned with religious liberty.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said the Obama administration hurt women by failing to turn around the economy, and his campaign also seized on comments by Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen that many said insulted stay-at-home mothers.