An astounding 200 House Republicans have signed onto a letter from Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) to congressional leaders asking them to protect the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal tax dollars from being used to conduct abortions.
The Republican House members wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:
We write to express our unified opposition to Congressional Democrats’ efforts to repeal the Hyde Amendment and other current-law, pro-life appropriations provisions. As part of their pro-abortion crusade, Democrats have taken direct aim at these long-standing bipartisan protections that generally prevent the federal government from using taxpayer dollars to support abortion procedures. Repealing these pro-life provisions would destroy nearly half a century of bipartisan consensus. Each year since 1976, Congress has included Hyde protections in annually enacted appropriations. No president in American history has ever vetoed an appropriations bill due to its inclusion of the Hyde Amendment. Moreover, President Obama maintained the Hyde Amendment in each of his budget proposals. As recent as June 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden supported the Hyde Amendment and acknowledged that it works harmoniously with federal funding for women’s healthcare.
The letter continues by noting that the public, based on polling, is on the side of the Republicans on this matter and that the Hyde Amendment since its inception in the mid-1970s has protected millions of lives from abortions funded by taxpayers. The letter continues:
Years of public polling indicates that repealing the Hyde Amendment is opposed by most of the American public. Congressional Democrats now seek to further erode public trust in government by ignoring mainstream public opinion in favor of placating the radical Left. The Hyde Amendment alone has saved the lives of over 2 million innocent babies and continues to protect the conscience rights of a vast majority of Americans opposed to publicly funded abortions. We cannot allow the Hyde Amendment and other important pro-life safeguards to be decimated by Congressional Democrats. Accordingly, we pledge to vote against any government funding bill that eliminates or weakens the Hyde Amendment or other current-law, pro-life appropriations provisions.
Banks is the chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest group of House conservatives inside the GOP conference. This is his first major initiative as RSC chairman, a position so influential it is considered informally to be a member of the GOP leadership team, and the fact he accumulated so many signatures—several of which came from members outside the RSC—is a sign of how aggressive Republicans will be on this fight. Banks told Breitbart News exclusively regarding this effort to protect the Hyde Amendment that the strong showing of support—nearly the entire GOP conference, 200 total House members—on this letter is a sign that the Hyde Amendment won’t go down without a fight.
“This letter sends a strong signal to congressional leadership—conservatives won’t be backing down,” Banks told Breitbart News. “We will unite against attacks by the radical left to transform America, and that includes forcing pro-life Americans to pay for abortions.”
What’s more, while McCarthy himself is not one of the signers of the letter, since it is addressed to him and other leaders, his office confirmed to Breitbart News he is supportive of the message contained within it and has made that point clear in recent weeks.
The mere fact that this many Republicans have signed onto this letter demonstrates how unified Republicans are against eliminating Hyde Amendment protections. There are 211 House Republicans in total, and with McCarthy, who is also supportive on this, that means only 10 Republicans did not sign the letter.
But it also means that the Democrats’ push, led by House Appropriations Committee chairwoman Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), to repeal the Hyde Amendment will not be easy.
DeLauro has been pushing to remove the Hyde Amendment from government funding bills during Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration, holding a hearing on it in December at which she attacked the Hyde Amendment using arguments pushed by radical leftists like those at Planned Parenthood.
At that December hearing, according to an NBC News report later in the month, DeLauro pledged that “this is the last year” the Hyde Amendment will be in federal law.
“The time has come in this current moment to reckon with the norm, with the status quo,” DeLauro said.
“The Hyde Amendment is a discriminatory policy,” DeLauro added.
But Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), then the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said there would be strong Republican opposition to DeLauro’s push.
“The Republican caucus would resist it,” Shelby said, according to NBC News. “We’ve had the Hyde Amendment a long time. And I think it’s pretty clearly embedded in the fabric of our legislation. I support the Hyde Amendment.”
Clearly, Republican opposition has solidified as nearly every GOP member of the House has signed onto this letter from Banks. So it remains unclear if Democrats like DeLauro will continue their push against the Hyde Amendment, and if she and others do continue it, then it remains unclear what Democrat leaders like Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and President Biden will do in the face of serious and unified Republican opposition.
President Biden, during his campaign for the Democrat primary in 2019, flip-flopped against the Hyde Amendment after decades of supporting it. But when White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about his thoughts on it and the Mexico City policy, which bars federal tax dollars funding international abortions, Psaki side-stepped the question and did not give a clear answer.
“Well, I think we’ll have more to say on the Mexico City Policy in the coming days,“ Psaki said. “But I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he is a devout Catholic, and somebody who attends church regularly.”