New Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said no to the border wall — but yes to tearing down the one between taxpayers and abortion. That was the state of play on Day 1 of the 116th Congress, a rude awakening for any American who cares about the sanctity of life. And while Pelosi may have the U.S. House, she doesn’t have the White House — a fact the president was quick to point out.
When the Democrats’ first act in the majority was to try to re-open the taxpayer pipeline to overseas abortion groups Wednesday, the president let them know where their bill was headed: nowhere. In his first Statement of Administration Policy of the divided government, President Trump made it quite clear that the only thing the Left would get out of their legislation to overturn the Mexico City Policy was a veto. In a shot across the new speaker’s bow, the White House issued this warning:
“The administration opposes passage of H.R. 21, the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2019… and H.J. Res. 1…[which] includes $700 million more than requested for the United Nations, including restoring funding for the United Nations Population Fund. 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.”
And President Trump wasn’t the only one airing his frustration about the direction of the new House majority. Conservative members across the board went to the mat to fight the abortion language, even going so far as offering a motion to recommit — which is one of the best weapons the minority has for protesting a bill (or part of one). Essentially, it gives the Republicans one last chance to recommend changes to the language — which, in this case, meant stripping out the Left’s push for international taxpayer-funded abortion.
A lot of motions to recommit fail, like this one did. But it does make a powerful statement of opposition from Republicans — and, in this case, two pro-life Democrats: Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). Obviously, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pointed out, when Nancy Pelosi said they would have a “pro-choice gavel,” she meant it.
“Earlier today,” McCarthy said, “Speaker Pelosi quoted a prayer by Saint Francis: ‘Lord make me a channel of thy peace.’ Hours later, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats voted to allow foreign aid money to be used to perform and promote the violence of abortion overseas… Instead of handing taxpayer money to international abortion advocates, Speaker Pelosi should heed the words of the Pope named after Saint Francis: ‘Every life counts: from the beginning to the end, from conception to natural death.'”
Elsewhere in his caucus, pro-life conservatives took their message to the House floor in passionate speeches about the signal this kind of bill sends. “What a shame it would be if the very first action of the 116th Congress is to send foreign aid to fund abortion overseas,” Congressman Mike Johnson (R-La.) said. And yet, that’s exactly what its majority did — to the disgust of Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), and so many more.
“We should have had a debate about [this bill] and how it funds China’s coerced forced sterilization and forced abortion policy,” Congressman Andy Harris (R-Md.) fumed. “Is that what the United States is about? Sending money for forced abortion? That discussion belongs in committee and added to a bill under the dark of night with no debate.”
More than anything, the Washington Examiner’s Phillip Wegmann writes, “This shows exactly what kind of speaker Pelosi will be. When President Trump negotiates with Pelosi, he will be sparring with a shrewd negotiator and a champion of the abortion industry.” Fortunately for pro-lifers, Donald Trump isn’t new to the negotiating table. And when it comes to making a deal, there are some things he hasn’t compromised. Unborn life being one of them.