While Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) seem to get all the attention for being obstinate about voting for the reconciliation bill, progressives are being just as stubborn.
The Hyde Amendment has been in every budget bill with bipartisan support since 1976, and it protects taxpayers from having to pay for elective abortions. That’s unacceptable to Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who has decided to make it a sticking point, telling CNN host Dana Bash on Sunday that she won’t vote for a bill that has Hyde included but appeared to not know what the amendment was about.
Jayapal is chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and despite telling Bash no, she didn’t seem to really be able to articulate beyond that, and wasn’t able to answer Bash when questioned about “what happens? How do you compromise on that?”
“I mean, let’s just — we’re — this is a negotiation,” stammered Jayapal, before launching into a monologue about supporting abortion.
“But the Hyde Amendment is something that the majority of the country does not support. One in four women have had an abortion and need to have reproductive care in a very, very important time, when those protections are being rolled back. That is nobody’s business. It is our business, as people that carry the babies. And we have to be able to make those choices during our pregnancy,” Jayapal continued.
From there, the conversation derailed as Jayapal stammered out contradictions.
Bash asked her “So, just to be clear, you want to have legislation — in this legislation, you want to allow federal dollars to be spent for abortion?” Which prompted a confused response from Jayapal:
“No, none of the — none of the dollars here are going for that. I mean, we already have…”
Bash tried to press on, though, asking “Because that’s what the Hyde Amendment bans. So how would — so…” But Jayapal interrupted with another monologue:
“Well, I think that the reality is, I think what he is asking for, from my understanding, is something even more than that. And so let’s just — let’s just continue to see where we are. But I think the important thing here is, this is the beginning of a negotiation.”
Time was working against Bash, who was trying to steer the conversation back towards some kind of concrete statement about the Hyde Amendment. Bash did miss the opportunity to ask Jayapal where she was getting the idea that the majority of Americans oppose Hyde, since poll after poll has shown the exact opposite.
The progressive position does help effectively kill the bill, however. Manchin has repeatedly stuck with Hyde, a position he confirmed once more in June and July of this year.
There does not appear to be “reconciliation” between the two positions in the foreseeable future, casting further doubt on the ability of Democrats in Congress to get the bill, touted as President Joe Biden’s legislative centerpiece and legacy, to actually land on his desk.
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