Congress Staying on the Naughty List
By Matt Smith
Last year the week before Christmas brought America the Senate passage of President Obama’s mandated, pro-abortion vision of America’s health care system. Now we see once again – there is no holiday break for the pro-abortion lobby.
Back on September 14, 2010 Catholic Advocate warned our community about “See Who is Cheering for a Congressional Lame-Duck Session…”Then we predicted:
“They [Congress] have a lot of unfinished business most importantly being the fact they have not passed appropriations bills for the next fiscal year which begins October 1st and it does not look like they will get them done before running home to campaign. This will force a lame duck session and the pro-abortion lobby led by Planned Parenthood is cheering for Congress to do just that this year.
“What happens when Congress has not been getting the job done?
“First, they will need to pass some form of a continuing resolution to keep the government running when the new fiscal year begins. Spending remains at the previous year’s levels and there is usually a deadline set for when the resolution expires.
“Second, the next likely step is that all the appropriations will be included in one massive omnibus spending bill. When this happens, the appropriations bills in their current form are dropped into different sections of the bill.”
And now we find ourselves a week before Christmas and unfortunately in the halls of Congress – the creatures are stirring.
The Senate plans to consider an Omnibus Appropriations bill this weekend at the earliest that, if enacted, will fund the government for all of Fiscal Year 2011. Timing for Senate consideration of the Omnibus may take place as soon as this weekend or early next week.
Catholic Advocate has talked to some of our contacts on Capitol Hill and here is a summary of some areas we thought you should be interested in knowing about the omnibus:
- The FY11 omnibus undermines the prohibition on abortion funding in the District of Columbia (Dornan amendment) by adding the word “federal” to the amendment. Because Congress approves all D.C. appropriations, adding the word “federal” means a vote for the FY11 omnibus is a vote to appropriate funds for abortion in the District of Columbia. The provision now reads: “None of the federal funds appropriated under this Act shall be expended for any abortion except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or where the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.” (emphasis added) The D.C. abortion policy was changed for the first time in over 15 years in the FY10 omnibus approved year. (page 641)
- $327 million is allocated for the Title X Family Planning Program which provides funding to groups like Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation. This is a $10 million increase over last year (FY10 level was $317 million) and a $44 million increase over the last four years (FY07 level was $283 million). (page 979)
- $710 million is appropriated for international family planning/reproductive health which provides funding to organizations that promote and perform abortion overseas. This is a $62 million increase over last year (FY10 level was $648 million) and $270 million increase over the last four years (FY07 level was $440 million). (page 1379)
- The bill establishes an Office of Global Women’s Issues at the department of State headed by an Ambassador-at-Large, and the position of Gender Integration and Development Advisor at USAID. Prior efforts to establish these positions and offices has raised concern that the offices will support international efforts to promote abortion. (pages 1449-1453)
- New language added to the gender-based violence section directs the Secretary of State to seek to ensure that international aid programs are consistent with United Nations Security Council resolutions 1820 and 1888. These resolutions affirm the CEDAW Convention which the U.S. has not ratified and pro-life groups oppose because CEDAW provisions have been interpreted as grounds to overturn pro-life laws.
- The omnibus does NOT include the pro-abortion Lautenberg amendment which was in the State, Foreign Operations bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year. Stephan Phelan alerted the Catholic Advocate community to the Lautenberg amendment last month. It would have amended the Foreign Assistance Act to prohibit all future administrations from implementing the Mexico City Policy against funding foreign NGOs that promote and perform abortion.
- The omnibus also DOES include the pro-life Smith amendment on abortion funding for federal employees which was omitted in the Financial Services bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year.
Congress should take a break and remember why it is that we gather each year at this time to celebrate the birth of our Savior – maybe they would put a stop to these policies.
Matt Smith is Vice President of Catholic Advocate