Yesterday, lawmakers from the House and Senate met to agree upon a “mini omnibus” appropriation bill for FY2010 spending for the six appropriations bills that had yet to be brought to the floor for a vote in the Senate. (Just a reminder – the fiscal year started October 1, but the agencies that didn’t yet have independent bills passed have been operating on a “continuing resolution” keeping programs going at last year’s levels.) Because of the efforts to finalize these bills without independent votes in the Senate (bills aren’t moving through the Senate too quickly), issues that they find a little challenging to deal with were tossed out.
The Senate State Foreign Operations bill included a provision that would have permanently repealed the global gag rule so that the political gaming of this 25-year old partisan football would be called to an end, and simple presidential executive orders could not longer impose these onerous restrictions on health care providers. This means our fight is not over on this one.
Even though the conference committee met quickly to pull together the funding package, some tried and true Members of the House turned on a dime to relay support for the House accepting the Senate language. Spearheaded by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Dan Maffei (D-NY), Michael McMahon (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Louise Slaughter (D-NY) urged House leadership to keep the provision to end the global gag rule.
Those in the know have indicated that the provision was stripped from the final conference bill because of the overall politics of the bill. Some have said that the global gag rule provision was tossed out in order to keep the provision to allow the District of Columbia to use its own funds to provide abortion services for its residents (and to that we give a thumbs up).
Capital Critique Rating: Thumbs Down