GOP Shows Its Hyde Maintenance
Don’t look now, but the do-nothing Senate is finally doing something under the GOP! A month after Democrats drove a popular anti-trafficking bill into a ditch, Republicans finally managed to pull the measure out of the partisan muck and pass it 99-0. For weeks, the Left had been warring against a piece of routine language in Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act that keeps taxpayers out of the abortion business.
Despite being the law of the spending land for more than 40 years, the President’s party pretended that the Hyde-like ban was not only new — but extreme. It was a ridiculous ploy, even for the Senate, which has long agreed with 70% of Americans that regardless of how taxpayers feel about abortion, they shouldn’t have to pay for it. Instead, they used the media as a megaphone for their fake hysteria that this legislation was somehow more pro-life than past bills.
Democrats shrieked that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was trying to pull one over on them — when in fact, they were the ones doing the misleading. According to the The Hill, the office of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), one of the measure’s sponsors “admitted that an aide knew it was in the bill” all along. McConnell, realizing that this was just a political stunt, didn’t blink — and vowed to bring business to a screeching halt until Democrats backed off their phony trafficking drama.
Realizing McConnell wouldn’t budge, the President’s party reluctantly broke the stalemate, thanks to some clever thinking by both sides. To get Democrats on board, a few offices had the idea of splitting the money pot into two streams: one of which was already protected by the Hyde amendment, and the other — criminal fines — that couldn’t be channeled to health services of any kind.
Although it didn’t really change anything, Democrats celebrated the solution to a non-existent problem. Liberals like Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who threatened, “the bill will not come off this floor as long as that [abortion] language is in it” unanimously passed the measure with the abortion language in it. Even the Washington Post blew the Left’s cover: “In the end, the practical effect of the bill approved on a 99-to-0 afternoon vote was not discernibly different than the bill that came to the Senate floor in early March.”
That didn’t stop Sen. Pat Leahy’s (D-Vt.) from trying strike the Hyde language in the process. Fortunately, his amendment failed 43-55 — with even Democrats Bob Casey (Pa.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voting against it. Still, Reid insisted, “We’re now in a much better place” (which is actually just the same place, rearranged).
Liberals, meanwhile, didn’t miss an opportunity to inject sexual politics into a completely irrelevant bill. With the help of squishy Republicans, Sens. Leahy and Susan Collins (R-Maine) tried to tack on an LGBT amendment that would have discriminated against faith-based organizations and mandated special rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It needed 60 votes to pass and got 56, narrowly failing despite these Republicans’ support: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Shelley Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Daniel Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
Despite the Left’s much ado about nothing protest, the underlying bill and all of its pro-life protections remained intact. We tip our hats to Leader McConnell and Sen. Cornyn for showing Congress what it can accomplish when Republicans stick to their principles.
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