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 PressleyFauci, Black Lives Matter founders included on Time's 100 Most Influential People list Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' Pressley applauded on House floor after moving speech on living with alopecia 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 PelosiHoyer: House should vote on COVID-19 aid — with or without a bipartisan deal Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose at Supreme Court McCarthy threatens motion to oust Pelosi if she moves forward with 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 TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE.

"Let me be clear on the Hyde Amendment: I would repeal it tomorrow," said Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkDemocratic leaders: Supreme Court fight is about ObamaCare Rep. Robin Kelly enters race for Democratic caucus vice chair Clark rolls out endorsements in assistant Speaker race 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 BidenBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Democratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida Harris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle 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."