House GOP government funding bill hits snag amid abortion concerns

House GOP government funding bill hits snag amid abortion concerns

Another House GOP-backed funding plan is hitting snags this week as some in the party are raising concerns about an abortion-related provision.

GOP leadership is hoping to pass the conference’s partisan plan laying out fiscal 2024 funding for the White House, the Treasury Department and other offices this week. But there is uncertainty around its chances of passage as some members take issue with a thorny policy rider.

Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) told reporters Wednesday that he opposes the plan over a measure that seeks to prohibit Washington, D.C., from carrying out the Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act, a law that aims to protect individuals from employer discrimination based on their reproductive health decisions.

“I think that we need to be much more respectful of the difficult decision that women have to make,” Molinaro said. “I think we need to respect the city’s determination, and I think it’s a provision that is unnecessary in the bill.”

Reporters also asked the lawmaker about whether the recent victories for abortion-rights advocates seen at the ballot box this week would impact the party’s approach on the issue.

“I think that we need to take stock that post-Dobbs, the American people want every level of government to more appropriately respect the difficult choices women have to make,” he said. “And that if a state or city takes action, through its public referendum, that they understand, the American people understand, that is now the layer and the level of government that they want to influence.”

“Respecting the will of people, as they have clearly come to the polls now several times to acknowledge, I think is important for us,” he added. “We have to recognize that these are difficult choices and politicizing them is not helpful.”

Asked if there’s enough Republicans who share the same stance to tank the bill, Molinaro said he thinks “there is concern that there is,” noting more than a handful of Republicans have similar concerns.

In the House GOP’s narrow majority, just a handful of Republicans can sink any partisan bill.

The news comes just days after Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), the chair of the subcommittee that crafted the party’s annual agriculture funding bill, cast doubt on the legislation passing anytime soon after it failed on the floor earlier this year amid divisions on abortion and spending.

While Harris said it’s up to GOP leadership “as to whether or not they want to attempt to bring the bill back,” he noted to The Hill last week the dug-in positions of members on a portion of the bill that seeks to limit access to the abortion pill mifepristone.

“There are members who have said, look, they can’t vote for that bill with the mifepristone language in and there are a whole lot more members who said they can’t vote for that bill with the mifepristone language out,” Harris said, while playing down its likelihood of passing even if “some of the spending issues are addressed.”

And on Tuesday, House Republicans punted plans to vote on a housing and transportation government funding bill, partly over concerns from some in the party about a proposed drop in dollars for Amtrak.

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) also said Wednesday that he “did not support it in its current form last night, it needs to cut spending.”

The bills are among the 12 annual government funding bills House Republicans sought to pass this month as they look to strengthen their hand in spending talks with Senate Democrats later this year.

However, the partisan bills have been panned by Democrats for pursuing cuts to non-Defense programs that go beyond a budget caps deal brokered between President Biden and House GOP leadership earlier this year, along with policy riders they call “poison pills.”

Republicans have defended the cuts, pointing to the rising national debt and inflation. But the partisan nature of the plans makes it tougher for House Republicans to pass the legislation with a narrow majority, especially after the party has struggled to unify behind a broader spending strategy over the past few months amid opposition from its right flank pressing for further cuts and other policy items.

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