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Bill Permanently Banning Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Blocked in the Senate

Do you support the bill to permanently ban federal tax dollars from funding abortions?

by Countable | 1.17.19

The Senate attempted to take up a bill that would permanently prohibit federal tax dollars from funding abortions on Thursday, but it was blocked in a 48-47 procedural vote. The vote capped off a week that saw two other bipartisan bills fail to clear that procedural hurdle in the Senate, including a Middle East policy bill and a bill to stop sanctions relief for companies linked to a Russian oligarch.

What would this bill do?

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act would make the Hyde Amendment ― which prohibits federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening birth complications ― a permanent law. It’d also require healthcare plans to clearly indicate whether they fund abortions, and if they do then no premium assistance tax credits or cost-sharing reduction payments would be available for those plans.

The Hyde Amendment has been law since 1976, but gets enacted annually by virtue of being attached to a spending or budget bill rather than becoming law through standalone legislation. Because of the Hyde Amendment, the 15 states that fund abortions beyond cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening birth complications through their Medicaid programs do so entirely with state tax dollars in those instances.

What’s next for the bill?

While there may be additional votes on the issue at a later date in the 116th Congress, it’s highly unlikely to gain the 60 votes needed to “invoke cloture” and limit debate in the Senate, let alone be passed through the Democrat-controlled House.

Had all senators been present today, the bill likely would’ve had 53 supporters and ended up 7 votes shy of that threshold. Four senators crossed the aisle in today’s vote: Democratic Sens. Bob Casey (PA) and Joe Manchin (WV) voted yes, while Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) voted no.

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / DJMcCoy)

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