Republican-led Labor-HHS Bill: Debate, Amendments, and Potential Impact

2023-11-14 23:43:00

Lawmakers on Tuesday in a party-line vote adopted a rule setting up debate on the appropriations bill. A vote on the actual bill could happen as early as Wednesday, but it’s far from a sure thing.

The Labor-Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) bill has historically been one of the more difficult pieces of legislation to pass, and GOP leaders have been unable to pass other spending bills amid divisions on abortion-related provisions. Republicans have inserted anti-abortion language into almost every appropriations bill.

The Republican-led, Labor-HHS bill would slash or eliminate funding from a range of programs that deal with everything from family planning to teen pregnancy and even the HIV epidemic.

The bill would eliminate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthoodeliminate Title X family planning grants and stop the implementation of two Biden administration executive orders intended to increase access to abortion care.

The legislation maintains the Hyde Amendmenta provision that prohibits certain federal funds from being used on abortion procedures.

If the vote occurs, it would come a week after voters in elections across the country showed that abortion continues to be a losing issue for Republicans. It also doesn’t stand much of a chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where appropriators crafted a separate, bipartisan bill free from any “poison pill” provisions.

House Republicans are looking to stake out what they’ve described as the most conservative starting point before negotiations ramp up with the Democratic-led Senate. And Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is an outspoken abortion opponent.

Still, the dynamics of a likely doomed bill coming on the heels of the election losses make it more likely that moderate Republicans will not cave to the conservatives and vote on the legislation.

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