Sen. Joe Manchin, a pro-life Democrat from West Virginia, said Wednesday that his party’s attempts to slip abortion coverage and other abortion-friendly provisions into an expanded Medicaid package in a federal spending bill would guarantee a “no” vote from him.
Manchin, who has been a pariah among Democrats for taking morally conservative positions on abortion and LGBTQ issues, is a key vote in the almost evenly divided Senate.
In an interview with National Review, Manchin said the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion, must be in any Senate version of the appropriations bill.
“It has to be. It has to be. [The bill is] dead on arrival if that’s gone,” Manchin told the magazine.
Manchin has doubled down on his support for the Hyde Amendment despite heavy pressure from his party’s leaders, including President Biden. Manchin has also stated his opposition to the Equality Act, which would amend the federal Civil Rights Act to give LGBTQ identity the same legal status as race or religion, putting him at further odds with his party. Biden, meanwhile, has stated his desire to rid the federal budget of the Hyde Amendment.
In August, Manchin, was the deciding vote in defeating an amendment to an earlier version of the budget reconciliation bill that would have allowed federal funding of abortion.
Under the latest version of the bill, it seeks to expand Medicaid in the 12 states that refused to expand it under Obamacare and would override any state prohibitions on government-funded abortion coverage in state insurance exchanges, which was initially allowed under Obamacare.
Under the Hyde Amendment, which was first added in 1976 to federal spending bills, federal funds are banned from being used to pay for elective abortions except in cases of rape or incest.
Some outlets have also suggested that the bill as drafted would carve out funding for abortifacients, “non-emergency medical transportation services” that could cover transportation for abortion services, and obscurely defined “public health” funds that have raised red flags with pro-life legislators.
Democrats are trying to pass the massive $3.5 trillion spending bill through a process known as budget reconciliation, which would prevent a Senate filibuster and would only require a simple majority of votes. But to pass it in the Senate, every Democrat would have to support it. Manchin has said he could support a bill that is less costly, but only if the Hyde Amendment is included.
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