Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

House Republicans pass new abortion restrictions in Veterans Affairs bill

By 37ci3 Jun5,2024

WASHINGTON – House Republicans on Wednesday approved a veterans funding bill that would limit access to abortion for troops and veterans, setting another partisan showdown with Democrats in the Senate and the White House ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline to fund the government.

A controversial provision in the spending bill would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from offering abortion counseling and, in some cases, abortion procedures to veterans and their beneficiaries. It overturns a Biden administration rule that allowed the VA to provide abortion care when the mother’s life or health is in danger, or in cases of rape or consanguinity.

Julia Brownley, D-Calif., who chairs the House Women Veterans Task Force, called House Republicans’ proposed VA rule “really important” to veterans, noting that “not even two years ago, VA doctors were allowed to give abortion advice.” “.

Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, called the GOP abortion provisions and other conservative policy measures in the military spending bill “unacceptable.”

Just four Democrats voted in favor of the bill, which would have funded military construction, housing and veterans affairs for the next fiscal year, highlighting a party-line divide on the issue. In recent weeks, Democrats in both chambers have pushed for votes on other reproductive rights issues, including reproductive rights. contraception and IVFto take Republicans on record ahead of the November election.

Earlier this week, the White House vetoed a GOP military spending bill that would go nowhere in the Democratic-led Senate. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., accused President Joe Biden of “defocusing our military, undermining our readiness and reneging on promises to our veterans.”

It’s a repeat of last year, when Republicans tried to cut the Pentagon’s broad support for military and veterans seeking reproductive care. The same provision was ultimately scrapped during bipartisan negotiations to fund the government.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., accused Republicans of putting “poison pills” into mandatory bills that require bipartisan cooperation to pass.

“They put policy issues where we disagree, like women’s contraceptives, women’s right to choose, into bills that have no reason to be there,” she said.

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., who supported the provision in the strike and defense appropriations subcommittee, defended his vote even though he is running for re-election in a swing district in November.

“This is not an attempt to impose a national abortion ban. This is to make sure that every American taxpayer is not paying for these abortions,” Garcia said in an interview with NBC News.

But he admitted that it was unlikely that the provision would ultimately remain in the bill. “We understand that we will need bilateral support. This is one of the problems that has prevented bipartisan support so far,” Garcia said.

Conservatives also look to partisan politicians as keys to securing support for legislation — from provisions targeting diversity and inclusion programs to abortion restrictions.

“I’m pleased with the victories on the bill,” said Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., who is running for the Senate.

He said it was important for Republicans to hold on to those provisions, noting that repealing conservative additions on abortion and other issues would cause him not to vote.

“If they go back to Dem-awake policies — if they fund those policies, I’m going to vote against it,” Banks said.

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By 37ci3

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