Democrats scuttle attempt to strike Hyde Amendment from spending bill

Democrats scuttle attempt to strike Hyde Amendment from spending bill
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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 PressleyThe DCCC's 'blacklist' protects a white male political status quo Biden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power MORE (D-Mass.) and other progressive Democrats was not included in a list of amendments that will receive votes on the House floor.

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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 PelosiHouse passes bill aimed at bolstering Holocaust education Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — NFL social media accounts hacked | Dem questions border chief over controversial Facebook group | Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views Meadows: Republicans who break with Trump could face political repercussions 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 TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE.

"Let me be clear on the Hyde Amendment: I would repeal it tomorrow," said Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkSanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements Democrats ramp up calls for war powers vote after Iran strike Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of impeachment 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 BidenWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense 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."