March 30, 2011
Will the GOP Leadership Cave
Once Again on Cutting PP Funding?
In just a few days — sometime before Friday, April 8 — a showdown will occur in the U.S. Capitol. At its center is the pro-life goal of defunding tax monies from the nation’s largest abortion promoter/provider: Planned Parenthood. The question is, “Will the House Republicans have the will to stand strong against the pro-abortion Senate Democrats who appear ready to reject the House proposal?” Funding the government has turned into a serious game of “chicken” and it will be won or lost depending on who blinks first.
Having to clean up the muddled mess left by Democrats when they failed to introduce and pass a budget in the last session, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives appeared headed in the right direction when it passed its first spending bill (H.R. 1) to keep federal government operations going. In it, they removed tax monies to Planned Parenthood and other abortion-related funding.
Naturally, the Democrat-controlled Senate balked, refusing to accept H.R. 1, so the House sent over a Continuing Resolution (CR) earlier this month, apparently aimed at winning over the tax-and-spend Democrats as it restored the abortion funding to Planned Parenthood and deleted other pro-life provisions which had been included.
The CR expires on April 8, and rather than another short-term (3-4 week) CR, the House Leadership has declared that there will instead be a long-term CR to keep the government going into September, fiscal year end. “I want to see a long-term CR here,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said. “We’ve got bigger things to deal with. Time is up here.”
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has promised that any final deal with the Senate will include “some” of the Republican policy riders, such as cutting funds to PP, NPR or the EPA to implement carbon emission regulations. There is no clear indication of exactly which riders the House will insist upon keeping; defunding PP could become a casualty in this showdown unless the House Leadership clearly directs the GOP Majority to stand firm for life.
However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has ruled out defunding Planned Parenthood and now is trying to drive a wedge between the House Leadership and conservative House Members. “I am extremely disappointed that after weeks of productive negotiations with Speaker Boehner, TEA Party Republicans are scrapping all the progress we have made and threatening to shut down the government if they do not get all of their extreme demands,” Reid said. He further called upon “mainstream Republicans” to “stand up to the TEA Party and rejoin Democrats at the table to negotiate a responsible solution.”
Both Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor have denied that there even have been “productive” negotiations. “There are a lot of numbers that have been discussed and thrown around. The fact is there is not an agreement on a number,” Boehner maintains.
Demonstrating how stubborn the big spending Democrat Senate is, Leader Reid recently suggested a mere $7.5 billion in discretionary cuts and $3.5 billion in mandatory savings as a counteroffer to the $51 billion in additional cuts the GOP is seeking, and Democrats are considering upping their ante to $20 billion. That paltry sum is still a less than half of what the GOP wants to cut and will hardly make a dent in the huge deficit the Democrats have run up under President Obama’s “open wallet” administration.
Pro-life conservatives across the county will be watching to see how the GOP House responds to the standoff. We encourage them to stand firm, take their case to the public through radio and television interviews, and hold the line on the pro-life measures they earlier passed.
If the government is to be shut down, clearly it will be by the pro-abortion, big-spending Democrats in the U.S. Senate, and conservatives need to be shouting that message from the rooftops! Otherwise, disenchanted voters may hold a showdown of their own in November 2012.
ACTION: Email your Congressional Representative today and urge him/her to stand firm for frugality and life when passing the final Continuing Resolution. Let him/her know that it is time to take a stand and to SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC that the Republican majority in the House is doing what it was elected to do — cut spending and defend life.
If you also would like to phone, 202-225-3121 is the main switchboard number for the House.
Would you be surprised to learn that the cost of an abortion is a tax deduction under current tax law? Or that the cost of insurance which covers abortions is deductible by some businesses? Unfortunately, these deductions are allowed under current tax code, and the Republican House Members want to change that.
The Ways and Means Committee has announced that the Committee will consider H.R. 1232, “to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to eliminate certain tax benefits relating to abortion” on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.. A list of Members is available here.
This new legislation addresses the abortion-related tax issues raised in H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” by amending the Tax Code and will be marked-up with the expectation that it will replace the existing tax policies contained in H.R. 3 when H.R. 3 is considered by the House. Although this process may seem a bit unusual, it is necessary for procedural purposes. Removing these tax advantages will be a big boost to the pro-life cause.
H.R. 1232 specifically makes the following pro-life changes to the tax code:
- Disallows premium tax credits — also known as “exchange subsidies” — created by the 2010 health care law for subsidizing the premiums of health insurance plans offered in the government-run exchanges that offer abortion coverage.
- Disallows small business tax credits, also created by the 2010 health care law, for a subset of small businesses purchasing, for employees, health insurance plans that offer abortion coverage.
- Ends the policy of providing tax-preferred status for abortion through Archer Medical Savings Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, and Health Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs).
- Disallows abortions to be included as an itemized deduction for medical expenses exceeding 7.5% (10% after 2012) of adjusted gross income.
ACTION: If your Congressional representative is one of the Republicans on this committee (list of Members is here) please contact him/her and urge that he/she be present for the hearing and to oppose any hostile amendments. (There are no pro-life Democrats on this committee.)