WASHINGTON, D.C., February 18, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Riding nationwide Tea Party exasperation with the administration’s spending habits, House GOP members have crafted a budget bill that not only slashes spending, but powerfully throws down the gauntlet to the president’s progressive ideas on life and family issues.
Obama has already threatened to veto the must-pass budget bill, a move that has the potential to grind government operation to a halt by next month.
H.R. 1, the same budget measure that lawmakers amended this afternoon to bar all federal funds from going to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, also includes other revolutionary funding cuts of note to the pro-life community, including the eradication of Title X family planning funds.
Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which provides funding for “Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs,” became law under former U.S. president Richard Nixon in 1970. The program was originally intended to target low-income women in order to curb unintended pregnancies in that demographic.
The omission of Title X flies in the face of the president’s own budget ideas: Obama’s budget proposals have in the past gutted federal abstinence funding and poured taxpayer dollars into contraception programs.
Before Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-IN) amendment banning Planned Parenthood funding met with victory, the bill had already been stripped of Title X funding. Pence himself has said that he actually supports family planning as such, but was anxious to see federal funding for the abortion organization end.
The pro-life community was given another reason to celebrate when the House agreed today to move forward with provisions in the bill that would hamstring the new health care law, which top pro-life analysts recognize as potentially the greatest expansion of abortion in America since Roe v. Wade.
An amendment offered by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) that prevents any “government department or agency” from spending any funds on the health care overhaul during fiscal year 2011 made its way into the bill this afternoon. The House also voted to ban the Internal Revenue Service from expending any funds to force citizens to buy health insurance, the most controversial mandate in the health care law passed in March, and one that at least two federal judges have ruled unconstitutional.
The bill, which saw the end of a slew of earmarks, now boasts over $60 billion in immediate funding cuts.
Although the bill is set to pass the House, the battle may be only just beginning. While some in the White House say that the president would work to avoid a veto, an aide to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told Democrat congressmen’s chiefs of staff that a government shutdown over the measure is a very real possibility, according to Politico.
The administration on Tuesday had already warned in a formal policy statement that, “If the president is presented with a bill that undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions ... the president will veto the bill.”
House Speaker John Boehner - who was faced with a gaggle of chanting pro-abortion protesters outside his apartment Thursday morning - has put pressure on the administration to side with the budget by disallowing passage of a short-term funding measure as a patch in case debate over the current bill runs too late.
Lawmakers therefore have until March 4 before government spending runs out.