Senate Republicans look to address concerns about abortion language in ObamaCare bills

Senate Republicans look to address concerns about abortion language in ObamaCare bills
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Senate Republicans are looking for ways to ensure that two ObamaCare funding bills they're trying to pass don't put money toward insurance plans that cover abortions. 

"There were some questions that were raised in the pro-life community, and we want to make sure we get those addressed so that all conservatives feel comfortable voting for this transition out of ObamaCare, which is what this is all about," said Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsTrump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  Senators look for possible way to end shutdown GOP senators would support postponing State of the Union MORE (R-S.D.). 

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Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMcConnell blocks House bill to reopen government for second time Senators restart shutdown talks — and quickly hit roadblocks GOP senators propose bill to pay 'excepted' workers during shutdown MORE (R-Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal MORE (R-Maine) said Wednesday they asked leadership not to bring their ObamaCare bills up for a vote this week after House Republicans demanded it include more abortion restrictions.

Those bills were likely going to be attached to a stopgap measure to fund the government through the next few weeks, but are now being punted to January as Congress runs up against a Friday deadline to avoid a shutdown. 

Now the bills might be added to a full-year funding bill in January, which gives Senate and House leaders more time to find a compromise.

"It probably was the right thing to do at this time. The reason is you have to have a product that can pass both the House and the Senate, and I think there were some concerns in the House based on some information that was provided that suggested some of those funds could be released for abortion services, which we didn't believe to be the case," said Rounds. 

"I'm pro-life. I don't want any of it used for abortion services, and that was never the intent. So if we can clarify that, get it cleared up, that makes it a whole lot easier for conservatives and pro-life members to be able to support it." 

Rounds mentioned that the issue could be resolved by an executive order signed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Lady Gaga blasts Pence as ‘worst representation of what it means to be Christian’ We have a long history of disrespecting Native Americans and denying their humanity MORE that would ban the funding from going toward plans that provide abortions. 

However, anti-abortion groups have been pushing for the ObamaCare bills to include language from the Hyde Amendment, a long-standing amendment reauthorized every year that bans Medicaid and other programs under the Health and Human Services Department from using federal funds for abortions.

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAEI names Robert Doar as new president GOP can't excommunicate King and ignore Trump playing to white supremacy and racism House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (R-Wis.) told Republican members Tuesday the lower chamber would not be passing the ObamaCare bills without Hyde language. 

"There’s no stronger pro-life person than Paul Ryan. That’s never coming through here without Hyde language in it," said Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeBottom Line Dems hit GOP on health care with additional ObamaCare lawsuit vote Overnight Health Care: House files motion to defend ObamaCare in lawsuit | Trump Medicaid director leaving after three months MORE (R-Okla.) a Budget Committee member who is close to leadership.