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Tony Perkins / October 22, 2021

Senate Dems Abandon the Fund-amentals

Democrats can’t afford to be playing messaging games.

After an eight-month partisan slugfest over everything from COVID “relief” to human infrastructure bills, you’d think the Hill’s Democrats would be ready to drop the pugil sticks and try a little bipartisanship. Think again. When Senate leaders put their appropriations cards on the table this week, conservatives couldn’t believe what they saw — another one-sided bundle of spending plans that wasn’t even a half-hearted attempt at compromise. Like everything else Joe Biden’s party is selling these days, it’s a radical departure from where Democrats stood even 12 months ago. But if it’s a fight they want, Republicans say — it’s a fight they’ll get.

Anyone who’s flipped through the proposals to the government’s commerce, defense, financial services, homeland security, labor, interior, legislative branch, foreign operations, and transportation agencies knows the package won’t pass. Apart from abandoning the middle ground on the plan’s cost, Democrats are staking out a completely unreasonable position on abortion that’s alienating even their own caucus. That doesn’t seem to matter to the Senate fringe, who, for the first time in 40 years, offered a plan completely devoid of the Hyde amendment which keeps taxpayers out of the abortion business and other long-standing abortion truces.

Most of the people watching the debate unfold are baffled. With only a handful of legislative weeks left on the calendar, and a government shutdown looming on the horizon in December, Democrats can’t afford to be playing messaging games with a must-pass bill. “I think it’s going to be very, very difficult for them,” Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) said on “Washington Watch.” Unlike the colossal $3.5 trillion dollar reconciliation plan Joe Biden is pushing, the appropriations bills need 60 votes — an impossibility for a party that still has a few holdouts on taxpayer-funded abortion.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D), who’s been one of the only things standing between the extremist Left and America’s complete moral implosion, made it quite clear that without Hyde, any bill is a nonstarter. As far as he’s concerned, this four-decade compromise is “a red line,” and any plan that comes to him without it would be “dead on arrival.” After all, it wasn’t that long ago that even Joe Biden supported a ban on taxpayer-funded abortion. In fact, stripping it from legislation was a bridge that even his old boss, Barack Obama, wouldn’t cross.

Those reservations flew out the window this week when Democrats, who can barely stick together for a bill that needs 50 votes, decided to steer the chamber (and their caucus) toward another head-on collision. As the Hill pointed out, the spending package already faced a “tough road notching the necessary 60 votes for passage,” thanks to provisions on climate change, extreme changes to education funding, socialist health care tweaks, money for Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups, and another raise for the controversial “Violence Against Women Act.”

And they knew better than to push this agenda, Daines said. “After the election, I led a letter and had 47 Republicans sign it that said: if the Hyde protections are removed, this bill is dead on arrival.” That’s never been controversial, he insisted. Now, Democrats are unleashing this “blatant attack on life and taxpayers, [and it’s] a purely partisan effort” — which, oh-by-the-way, isn’t going anywhere. It’s just another love letter to the Left’s radical base that’s wasting Senate time and money.

On top of the national (and international) abortion concerns, FRC is sounding the alarm about the threat to religious freedom too. In the Health and Human Services proposal, there’s new language that would ban HHS from funding any organization — including child welfare and foster care groups — that don’t agree with the Biden administration’s radical redefinition of gender and sexuality. In other words, it basically disqualifies any Bible-believing ministry from partnering with the government to help children.

That’s not likely to grease a deal’s wheels on an already short timetable. Instead, Budget Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) argued, it’s “a significant step in the wrong direction.” “Their bills are filled with poison pills… on topics like terrorism, abortion, and immigration that for years have enjoyed broad support on both sides of the aisle.” If Democrats want to keep the lights on for the next year, he argued, they’ll have to “abandon this go-it-alone strategy and come to the table to negotiate. The clock is ticking.”

And more than that, lives are on the line. Make sure you contact your senators and remind them that the Hyde, Weldon, Dornan, and other pro-life protections are non-negotiable. American taxpayers shouldn’t be unwilling partners in the Left’s killing culture — here or abroad.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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