This Monday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) proposed a stopgap funding measure in anticipation of the breakdown in budget negotiations on a six-month government funding bill. While Boehner’s proposed one-week continuing resolution includes $12 billion in cuts and would fund the government through April 15, it also marks “the GOP’s latest salvo” against the District of Columbia.
Delivering on the House’s weeks-long “desire to impose funding cuts and policy restrictions on the city,” Boehner’s stopgap measure would not only cut another $42 million from the city’s budget, but would also prohibit D.C. from using federal or local funds to pay for abortions for low-income women. The provision revives a 13-year-long ban on abortions in D.C. that President Obama overturned in 2009:
On Monday night, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers introduced H.R. 1363, a one week Continuing Resolution to continue funding the government through April 15. This summary of H.R. 1363 lists the funding and policy changes contained in H.R. 1363 including the following regarding the Dornan Amendment on D.C. abortion funding: “The CR also includes a provision preventing both federal and local funds from being used to provide abortions in the District of Columbia.”
This language would restore the Dornan amendment to ensure that no congressionally appropriated funds (whether locally or federally generated) may pay for abortion in the District of Columbia. The good news for pro-life advocates is that the inclusion of the Dornan Amendment in the one-week continuing resolution ensures it remains in place to prohibit abortion funding in the nation’s capital for the rest of the year.
The policy was in place from 1996-2009. Then, Democrats initially approved an omnibus spending bill lifting the 13-year-long ban on directly paying for abortions in the nation’s capital and Obama eventually signed the measure.
The anti-abortion measure would actually have zero impact on the federal budget as the tax dollars are raised locally. Rather than a spending cut, the provision is merely “a nod to social conservatives who have pushed for the inclusion of policy riders in any final funding agreement.” The only other policy rider in the stopgap measure prevents Guantanamo detainees from being transferred to the U.S.
“District residents are not easy bargaining chips to be used like non-citizens at Guantanamo Bay,” said D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). “We will be outraged if President Obama, Majority Leader Reid and the Senate Democratic majority throw the District of Columbia under the bus because of how the city chooses to spend its own local funds.” Yesterday, Obama flatly rejected the bill: “This is not a way to run a government.”