A pro-life leader in the House says he and many other Republicans will vote against legislation to fund the government through September if a series of anti-abortion riders, which already passed the House, aren’t included in the final bill.
“I’m going to push so hard to make sure those are all in there,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) told The Takeaway. “You can’t back off, from a human rights perspective. If you do so you facilitate the demise of hundreds of thousands of children.”
Smith said several Republicans would defect on the spending bill if the abortion riders are removed. He focused specifically on one amendment, authored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), eliminating federal funds for Planned Parenthood.
“Many,” he said. “You look at that vote, and how long that debate went…the [Planned Parenthood] amendment may have been the longest debate that I know of on the abortion issue since I’ve been here.”
As I noted here and here, the biggest risk of a government shutdown at this point isn’t that Democrats and Republicans will disagree on spending levels. It’s that they’ll clash over policy riders on abortion, the health care law, EPA authority, etc. If Smith isn’t bluffing, Speaker John Boehner will need a lot of Democratic support to pass a final spending bill through the House.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.