Democrats scuttle attempt to strike Hyde Amendment from spending bill

Democrats scuttle attempt to strike Hyde Amendment from spending bill
© Getty

The House Rules Committee on Monday quashed an effort to strike the Hyde Amendment, a 40-year-old ban on federal funding for abortions, from a government spending bill.

The amendment offered by Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyAyanna Pressley celebrates daughter's 5th grade graduation Ayanna Pressley celebrates daughter's 5th grade graduation Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control access face major obstacles MORE (D-Mass.) and other progressive Democrats was not included in a list of amendments that will receive votes on the House floor.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pressley's amendment would have removed the Hyde Amendment from the Department of Health and Human Services funding bill and ensured coverage for abortions in public health programs like Medicaid. 

The amendment would authorize new policies, a violation of House rules for spending bills. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty The DNC's climate problems run deep Cracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) could waive the rules, but such an occurrence is rare. 

A spending bill that doesn't include the Hyde Amendment is also unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate or be signed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE.

"Let me be clear on the Hyde Amendment: I would repeal it tomorrow," said Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkOvernight Health Care: Major doctors group votes to oppose single-payer | Panel recommends wider use of HIV prevention pill | New lawsuit over Trump 'conscience protection' rule Overnight Health Care: Major doctors group votes to oppose single-payer | Panel recommends wider use of HIV prevention pill | New lawsuit over Trump 'conscience protection' rule Democrats scuttle attempt to strike Hyde Amendment from spending bill MORE (Mass.), vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus.

But repealing it "would become a focal point that could collapse everything in the Labor-H bill that is so good for American families."

Pelosi said during an event Tuesday that while she doesn't support the Hyde Amendment, "It is the law of the land right now, and I don't see that there's an opportunity to get rid of it with the current occupant of the White House and this U.S. Senate." 

The effort was likely intended as a statement to appease abortion rights advocates who want to end the amendment. 

"The amendment put forward by Congresswoman Pressley affirms the reproductive rights of all Americans," said Lina Francis, Pressley's communications director.

"As a response to the coordinated attacks on abortion rights and Roe v. Wade, the Congresswoman believes that she and her colleagues must use every tool and tactic available to fight for reproductive justice," she said.

The Hyde Amendment received a newfound focus from progressives last week when 2020 presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally MORE, who voted for the amendment when he was a senator, said that he still supported the measure.

After significant criticism from Democratic politicians and activists, Biden later reversed his stance, saying he could “no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code."