House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appears to have stepped into a trap this week, one that has now slammed shut.
Pelosi is being criticized for reportedly attempting to sneak a Hyde Amendment loophole into an emergency coronavirus stimulus package.
She did what?
The Hyde Amendment, for those not familiar with it, prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions. There are a very small number of exceptions, such as if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest or if the abortion is needed to save the woman’s life.
According to the Daily Caller, “multiple senior White House officials” came forward this week to accuse Pelosi of trying to form a loophole for this amendment. The loophole would apparently have created up to a $1 billion “slush fund” which groups previously banned from federal funds by the Hyde Amendment would have access to.
“A new mandatory funding stream that does not have Hyde protections would be unprecedented,” one official told the Daily Caller. “Under the guise of protecting people, Speaker Pelosi is working to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent covering abortion, which is not only backwards but goes against historical norms.”
The most shocking thing about this loophole, though, is that Pelosi apparently tried to sneak it into a coronavirus stimulus package.
Pelosi has come under fire for the move. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) led the criticism in a recent interview with the National Review.
“While schools are closing and hospitals are gearing up, Speaker Pelosi is waging unnecessary culture wars,” Sasse said. “Speaker Pelosi should be fighting the coronavirus pandemic, not politicizing emergency funding by fighting against the bipartisan Hyde Amendment.”
Sasse continued: “We need to be ramping up our diagnostic testing, not waging culture wars at the behest of Planned Parenthood. Good grief.”
Coronavirus aid bill moves forward
In the end, the spending bill was moved forward without the controversial loophole, according to National Review.
President Donald Trump indicated Friday night that he will support the final bill, tweeting:
I fully support H.R. 6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, which will be voted on in the House this evening. This Bill will follow my direction for free CoronaVirus tests, and paid sick leave for our impacted American workers. I have directed the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations that will provide flexibility so that in no way will Small Businesses be hurt. I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES! I will always put the health and well-being of American families FIRST. Look forward to signing the final Bill, ASAP!
Early Saturday, the House approved the bill by a wide margin, voting 363-40. It heads to the Senate next week, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told The Hill that he expects it will pass the Senate as well.