Manchin's 'red line' on abortion splits Democrats
Democrats are clashing over whether to include in their sweeping spending plan a decades-old amendment that blocks Medicaid and other federal health programs from being used to cover abortions.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), already a key stumbling block to Democratic unity on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, has drawn a line in the sand around the issue, but others in the party are split over whether to include the Hyde amendment in a portion of the spending bill that would create a new federal program to provide health care coverage to low-income individuals in GOP-led states that haven’t adopted Medicaid expansions under the Affordable Care Act.
In recent days, Manchin has signaled he would not support the package without the amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortions in most cases and has been included in annual government funding bills since it was introduced by then-Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the 1970s.
Manchin, who has long supported the amendment, has called the provision “a red line” and said his party’s spending plan would be “dead on arrival” if it isn’t included.
The declaration by Manchin presents a new challenge for the Democratic party, which has seen a growing push over the years to do away with the amendment as it seeks to make headway on its sprawling social spending plan that leadership has set sights on passing in Congress in the next few weeks.
The party aims to pass the package using reconciliation, a procedure that will let them bypass the GOP filibuster in the Senate. But Democrats continue to face hurdles in trying to unite members on a path forward on the plan, given the party’s slim majorities in the House and Senate.