COVID-19 Bill Would Be OK Without Hyde Language To Prevent Funding For Abortion

A man from New York’s Queens neighborhood arrives to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside Citi Field on February 10, 2021, home of the New York Mets. (CNS Photo / Brendan McDermid, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – More than a dozen nonprofits, including Catholic Charities USA, have hailed the US bailout adopted by the US House in early February 27 for including “several provisions important to the industry charitable non-profit ”.

The $ 1.9 trillion relief program, which now goes to the Senate for a vote, “would bring much needed relief to many frontline nonprofits to help people in communities across this country then. that we continue to face the challenges created by the pandemic and the economic downturn, ”said a joint statement from the National Council of Nonprofit Organizations.

After the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said the measure would be “transformative” in alleviating poverty amid the pandemic. “We are putting money in the pockets of the workers,” she said in a statement. “As President (Joe) Biden said, help is on the way.”

However, upstairs in the House ahead of the vote – which took place at 2 a.m. EST – Rep. Chris Smith, NJ, criticized Pelosi and the House Rules Committee for refusing to allow a vote on an amendment to add language to the bill “to ensure taxpayers are not forced to subsidize abortion,” as the long-standing Hyde Amendment provides.

The Hyde Amendment, enacted annually for 45 years, prohibits federal taxpayers from directly funding abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life is in danger.

The McMorris Rodgers-Foxx-Walorski Amendment – co-sponsored by 206 members – would have added Hyde language to the US bailout. The Hyde language was also rejected as what became the final bill made its way through various House committees, Smith and other pro-life national leaders said.

“In a radical departure from all previous COVID-19 relief laws – the bill before us today requires taxpayers to fund abortion on demand,” Smith said. He and the other MPs authorized to address the entire House had only one minute each to speak. Smith’s longer written statement on the matter was on the Congressional file, along with his delivered remarks.

“Unborn babies need the President of the United States and members of Congress to be their friend and their advocate – not another powerful adversary,” he said.

Smith, a Catholic, who is co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, cited a letter that Biden, who is also a Catholic, “once wrote to his constituents to explain his support for laws against abortion funding by saying that it “would protect both the woman and her unborn child.” … Those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be forced to pay for it. “

“Most Americans agree – 58% according to the latest Marist poll,” added Smith, who was among 212 House members who voted against the measure. All Republicans and two Democrats rejected the bill. It was adopted with 219 votes.

Allocations in the US bailout include $ 17 billion for vaccine-related activities and programs and $ 110 billion for other efforts to contain the pandemic; $ 130 billion for public schools; $ 246 billion to extend unemployment benefits until August and increase the additional federal payment from $ 300 per week to $ 400; and $ 143 billion to expand the child tax credit, the child care tax credit, and the mostly earned income tax credit for one year.

Other provisions include $ 45 billion to temporarily extend Affordable Care Act subsidies for two years and subsidize 2020 and 2021 coverage; $ 50 million for family planning; $ 25 billion for subsidies to restaurants and bars; $ 7 billion to authorize more loans under the Paycheck Protection Program; $ 6 billion to increase nutritional assistance; and $ 350 billion for states and communities.

The bill also provides for checks of $ 1,400 to be given to people earning up to $ 75,000 a year, heads of households earning $ 112,500 or married couples earning $ 150,000. Eligible dependents, including adult dependents, would also each receive $ 1,400.

The House measure also requires a gradual increase in the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025.

The Senate is due to pass its version of the measure in the first week of March, but media reported many MPs were divided over the size and scope of the bill. The minimum wage provision will not be included; the senatorial parliamentarian said that under the budgetary rules this cannot be taken into account.

Praising the House’s measure, the National Council of Nonprofits also said it was insufficient in some areas, including expanding the number of people eligible to apply for PPP loans by including some. nonprofits with more than 500 employees, but said the deadline to apply for these loans should be extended beyond March 31 so that newly eligible nonprofits have time to apply.

“We call on senators to include the additional relief requested by more than 3,000 organizations, so that nonprofits can all continue to keep our membership intact and help people in our communities,” the organization said. .

March for Life president Jeanne Mancini weighed in on the House without including a Hyde provision.

“At a time when our country mourns the deaths of 500,000 Americans, very little (less than 10%) of the misnamed COVID relief program is actually going to fight the pandemic,” she said. “Pro-abortion Democrats are using this bill to pass billions of dollars in abortion subsidies, not only here in the United States but also overseas.”

These lawmakers “are trying to use the budget reconciliation process to achieve this because they would otherwise not have the votes necessary to get rid of the popular pro-life endorsements that protect Americans from funding end-of-life proceedings,” he said. she declared.

Like Smith, Mancini pointed to “a consistent poll” that shows “most Americans are opposed to their tax dollars funding abortion at home and abroad.” Too bad for unity.

Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said some estimate that more than $ 414 billion from taxpayers in the US bailout “could potentially be used to pay for elective abortions or insurance plans covering elective abortions. “.

“Democratic leaders in the House are not interested in the wishes of the majority of Americans who oppose taxpayer funding for abortions,” Tobias said. “Democratic leaders are more concerned with keeping election year promises made to pro-abortion groups. These groups are interested in abortion anytime, anywhere, for any reason and paid for by taxpayers.

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