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According to the Daily Caller, senior White House officials say that during negotiations with the Trump administration regarding a coronavirus economic relief package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sought to include a loophole that would guarantee federal funding for abortion services.
The officials claimed the California Democrat attempted to lobby for “several” provisions that slowed down a bipartisan working group in her talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Among Pelosi’s demands, according to the Daily Caller, was $1 billion to reimburse laboratory claims.
White House officials told the publication that if approved, this would create a precedent of health spending that circumvents a federal ban on taxpayer-sponsored abortions.
The ban, known as the Hyde Amendment, does not allow clinics or medical centers that perform abortion services to receive federal dollars.
“A new mandatory funding stream that does not have Hyde protections would be unprecedented,” a White House told the Daily Caller.
“Under the guise of protecting people, Speaker Pelosi is working to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent covering abortion — which is not only backwards, but goes against historical norms.”
Pelosi’s provision was described as a “slush fund” by another White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to the Daily Caller. Another questioned the logic of the House Speaker’s condition: “What the Hyde Amendment and abortion have to do with protecting Americans from coronavirus?”
In a tweet Thursday, Planned Parenthood attacked Republicans for wanting the Hyde Amendment included in the coronavirus relief bill: “Using this very real public health emergency to attack abortion coverage shows a despicable lack of concern about the severity of this crisis.”
According to Politico, Republican and Democratic leaders eventually “resolved issues” concerning the Hyde Amendment provision and that the matter will be voted on as part of a separate bill.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy pushed back against the Democrats’ bill Thursday morning, indicating he wanted the legislation re-written within the next 24 to 48 hours.
It remains unclear when the coronavirus economic relief package will be brought to the floor of the House for a vote or if the Senate will support it.
President Donald Trump has indicated he would sign any coronavirus relief package that is brought to his desk.