With just a handful of days left in the legislative calendar, Christmas recess can’t come soon enough for most conservatives. But there’s plenty left to do under the scaffolds of the Capitol dome. Priority number one is bankrolling the federal government for the next fiscal year — a testy process that could become ground zero in the battle for pro-life protections. Hoping to hitch a ride on what will probably be hundreds of pages of appropriations legislation (the omnibus) are several “riders” that help set policy — without necessarily being related to the bill they’re attached to.
Unfortunately, because of the dysfunctional nature of government, this is often how important legislation is passed — by adding it to massive spending packages instead of debating them as standalone bills. For groups like FRC, this omnibus is key for policies like the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA). Thanks to ObamaCare, HHS has implemented a rule that orders every state abortion plan to cover abortion. And that means religious schools, organizations, and even churches have virtually no choice but to buy health care plans that violate their conscience. Under ANDA, pro-lifers would finally have the legal grounds they need to sue the state for their freedom to believe.
The Duffy amendment is another priority for conservatives, since it would allow states to opt-out of funding Planned Parenthood — something many have tried to do, only to be threatened by the federal government. Of course, Democratic leaders are complaining that they don’t want the omnibus to have any attachments — even though they’re enjoying the bump in spending they wanted. “Just heard about it for the first time today, and if [Republicans] try to do it,” Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) warned, “all hell will break loose.” Meanwhile, the Senate is reportedly already considering a rider that would boost the amount of money political parties can spend in coordination with candidates, a great means of protecting incumbents. So if there’s room for one rider, this omnibus must have seats for more!
Contact your leaders and ask them to support ANDA and the Duffy amendment in the package Congress passes!
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.