Trump administration rejects Democrat spending bill to restore foreign abortion money
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration made clear it would not consider a Democrat spending bill to fully reopen the federal government, partially because it would also restore foreign aid to organizations that commit or promote abortions.
The federal government has been partially shut down since President Donald Trump rejected a government funding bill that didn’t include $5 billion to begin constructing the southern border wall he campaigned on. Despite widespread media talk of a “government shutdown,” most of the government was already funded and remains in operation.
Following her re-election as House Speaker Thursday, Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi announced that her party would be “offering the Senate Republican Appropriations [Committee] legislation to reopen the government later today.” The proposal consisted of one bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security until February 8 and another to fund federal departments until the end of September.
The legislation lacked the wall funding at the heart of the dispute, however, and would also repeal the Mexico City Policy (now called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance) that Trump reinstated shortly after taking office and later expanded. In addition to making abortion-involved groups once again eligible for foreign aid, the Democrat plan would also give $37.5 million to the United Nations Population Fund, from which Trump withdrew in 2017 over its participation in China’s forced abortion regime.
The House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass the pair of bills, CNN reports, with five Republicans breaking ranks to support the security bill without wall funding.
“The Administration opposes passage” of both pieces of legislation, the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement released Thursday. “The Administration is committed to working with the Congress to reopen lapsed agencies, but cannot accept legislation that provides unnecessary funding for wasteful programs while ignoring the Nation’s urgent border security needs.”
The statement primarily focused on the debate over illegal immigration, but also highlighted the proposal’s funding of a “number of unnecessary programs at excessive levels well beyond what was put forward in the FY 2019 Budget.”
“It includes $700 million more than requested for the United Nations, including restoring funding for the United Nations Population Fund,” the statement noted. “The bill would also undermine the President’s Mexico City Policy (Presidential Memorandum of January 23, 2017), which prohibits the funding of foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions.”
“If either H.R. 21 or H.J. Res. 1 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the message concludes.
Vice President Mike Pence reiterated Thursday evening that “we will have no deal without a wall,” and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also declared that the Senate “will not waste its time considering a Democratic bill which cannot pass this chamber and which the president will not sign.”
With the Democrats’ new House majority committed to defending abortion, pro-lifers are largely resigned to two more years without direct legislation to defund Planned Parenthood or otherwise restrict abortion, though they remain optimistic that the president will keep pursuing incremental steps for life via executive action, and are hopeful that Republicans’ expanded Senate majority will enable the confirmation of judges with clear pro-life credentials.
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