GOP Quacks the Whip on Lame Duck Session
By Tony Perkins
If there’s one thing Republicans are anxious to wrap up this Christmas, it’s Democratic control. Conservatives were hoping to put a bow on the failed majority of Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a more relaxed atmosphere, but thanks to a perfect winter storm of executive orders and funding debates, members are bracing for a flurry of activity over the next 10 days.
As usual, the two parties put themselves in a holiday jam by kicking the government funding bill to this month, when peace and goodwill are sure to be in short supply. Instead of in-depth conversations on each agency’s needs, Sen. Reid has almost never allowed spending measures to come to the floor — forcing both chambers to pass short-term patches to keep the lights on.
And while the House has done its work, carefully rolling appropriations bills into one big omnibus, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is facing a new political reality: the outrage over the President’s dictate on illegal immigration. Suddenly, conservatives are looking for any weapon to blunt the White House’s decision to grant amnesty to as many as five million undocumented Americans — and stripping money from Homeland Security seems to be a logical place to start.
But that strategy has its pitfalls too, not the least of which is a long, drawn-out showdown that could be politically costly to both sides before the new Congress starts. Republicans will have plenty of time to float ideas tomorrow at their meeting in the Capitol basement. Some members are rallying around a two-track approach, where the entire government — except immigration enforcement — would be renewed until September 2015. That means Congress would carve out the spending necessary for the President’s amnesty order and roll it into a short-term plan that would give Republicans an opportunity to tackle the issue first thing next year when they control both chambers.
Regardless of which path conservatives take, pro-lifers are fighting to make ObamaCare a priority in all of them. While liberals are busy pretending taxpayer-funded abortion doesn’t exist in health care, one state is quite proud to admit it: California. The country’s biggest state also took the biggest step in passing off abortion costs on locals under an August rule that orders health insurance companies to cover it — regardless of their objections or their policy holders’. Several members of FRC’s pastors network are leading the charge against the mandate, which affects everyone from religious institutions to churches and universities.
And while the Golden State’s policy obviously violates federal law, the Obama administration has no interest in enforcing it — let alone abiding by it. That’s why conservatives are doing everything they can to attach language to the spending bills that would give Californians the ability to beat back the attack on their First Amendment rights. Congressmen Dr. John Fleming (R-La.) tried to fix the West Coast problem earlier this year by introducing the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act to make the ban on taxpayer-funded abortion permanent in every state — and to add a private right of action so it could be enforced. Ultimately, the House combined it with Rep. Diane Black’s (R-Tenn.) Health Care Conscience Rights Act which took aim at the HHS mandate. Despite being included in the Labor-HHS spending bill, it was never voted on.
In the next two weeks, pro-lifers have a unique opportunity to kill California’s anti-conscience scam by attaching ANDA to a must-pass piece of legislation. Encourage your member to do exactly that! Contact them and tell them to give taxpayers an early Christmas present: no taxpayer-funding for abortion!
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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