Next week, the 109th Congress returns for a final lame-duck session. “In a blend of pique and laziness,” conservatives are choosing to simply ignore their responsibility to complete nine overdue spending bills. Instead, they plan to pass an emergency stop-gap bill — called a “continuing resolution” — that will result in millions in funding cuts to vital programs. CongressDaily explains:
— The Social Security Administration has told congressional staff it might have to furlough every employee. — HUD funding would not keep pace with demand for low-income housing vouchers, meaning “literally thousands of people would be out in the street,” one source said. — School breakfast and lunch programs would face a $1 billion shortfall, cutting off 1.2 million participants. — The Veterans Health Administration would have to absorb the $3 billion increase to meet this year’s requirements.
But while spending bills aren’t on the agenda, a “fetal pain abortion bill” — which has no chance of passing becoming law (it will likely pass in the House) and is described as a “last bid for loyalty” from the “base of social conservatives” — will likely get a vote:
The bill, by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., defines a 20-week-old fetus as a “pain-capable unborn child” a highly controversial threshold among scientists. It also directs the Health and Human Service Department to develop a brochure stating “that there is substantial evidence that the process of being killed in an abortion will cause the unborn child pain.”
A report last year by the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed nearly 2,000 studies on fetal pain and concluded that “legislative proposals to allow fetal pain relief during abortion are not justified by scientific evidence.”