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Biden Signals He’d Sign Reconciliation Bill That Includes Hyde Amendment
President Biden Travels To Michigan U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House after arriving on Marine One in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. Biden sought to shore up support for his economic agenda among centrist lawmakers with a trip to Michigan today, with disagreements among Democratic factions stalling key measures on infrastructure and social programs. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images Bloomberg / Contributor
Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signaled that he would be willing to sign a reconciliation bill even if it included the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits government funding from going to most abortions.

Biden was asked by reporters if he would sign the reconciliation bill if it included the Hyde Amendment. 

He responded, “I’d sign it either way.”

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia (D) said recently that he would not support a reconciliation bill that didn’t have the Hyde Amendment in it.  

As The Daily Wire reported, Manchin explained his position to National Review:

National Review: Senator, you’ve been very firm on keeping the Hyde amendment on the appropriations bills. Are you concerned about that issue at all in reconciliation—

Manchin: Certainly—

NR: —with this new Medicaid program?

Manchin: Yeah, we’re not taking the Hyde amendment off. Hyde’s going to be on.

National Review: In the new Medicaid program?

Manchin: It has to be. It has to be. That’s dead on arrival if that’s gone.

Biden’s move contradicts what the administration has described as Biden’s position on the Hyde Amendment in the past.

On Monday, for example, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president’s position on the Hyde Amendment was the same. 

A reporter asked Psaki, “Senator Manchin has said that he wants to see a Hyde Amendment included in reconciliation bill. Congresswoman Jayapal and others are opposed to that. Where does the president stand on inclusion of the Hyde Amendment in the reconciliation bill?”

Psaki responded, “Well, I’m not going to negotiate the package from here, but as you know, the president opposes the Hyde Amendment. That has not changed.”

Progressives in Congress have said they will not vote for a reconciliation bill that includes the Hyde Amendment.

Earlier this year, Biden’s budget removed the Hyde Amendment, securing a promise that he made during the campaign. 

As NPR reported in May, “The budget plan, released late last week, would drop the policy which has restricted funding for abortion through federal programs such as Medicaid. The rule, in effect since 1980, includes exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or to save a pregnant woman’s life.”

The Hyde Amendment, and the general idea that taxpayer funds should not go to abortions, has long been popular on both sides of the aisle. 

Biden was also historically in favor of the amendment during his career in politics.  

“If I believe heath care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s zip code,” Biden noted in June 2019, adding that abortion was not under attack in the past, but it is now.  

The Biden administration has made efforts to increase access to abortion and allow it to essentially be supported at the federal level. 

On Monday, the Biden administration changed a previous policy that, among other items, didn’t allow certain federally-funded family planning clinics to receive money from the government if they were involved in referring people to abortions. 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made an announcement describing the move that will reportedly put the Title X program back to how it was used prior to changes being implemented in 2019. The new development will go into effect on November 8th of this year.

In a statement from HHS, the department said it had issued a rule that “realigns the nation’s family planning program with nationally recognized standards of care, reinforces the program’s emphasis on quality, equity, and dignity for all individuals who seek Title X services, and modernizes the more than 50-year old program to better reflect the current healthcare system.”

As reported by The Hill, “Title X has always prohibited direct funding from going to abortion care. But with the Trump administration’s regulation, these clinics also could not refer patients for abortions, in what critics and reproductive rights groups called a ‘gag rule.’”

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