(CNSNews.com) - The continuing resolution that the House Appropriations Committee introduced yesterday and that the House Republican leadership is preparing to bring up for a vote on the House floor puts no limits on funding Planned Parenthood—the nation’s largest abortion provider—or any provision of Obamacare, including the regulations that force Christian individuals and organizations to buy or provide health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs.
“The bill is ‘clean’ and does not contain highly controversial provisions,” says a press release put out by the Appropriations Committee.
“We have reached the point where a Continuing Resolution is necessary to keep the government functioning and avoid another shutdown,” said Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R.-Ky.). “It is a critical piece of legislation, and my Committee has crafted the bill in a responsible, restrained way that should draw wide support in the House and Senate. This bill is free of controversial riders, maintains current levels, and does not seek to change existing federal policies.”
The bill would take effect on Oct. 1, the first day of fiscal 2015, and run only through Dec. 11.
That means it is designed to get the members of Congress who vote for it past the November mid-term elections, when all members of the House and a third of the Senate must stand for reelection.
If this CR is enacted, the current Congress must return to Washington in a “lame-duck” session and vote for yet another funding bill before Dec. 11. That will allow members thrown out by voters in November to come back and vote to fund the government into next year--if not for the rest of fiscal 2015, which will end on Sept. 30, 2015.
One provision in the bill that would extend beyond Dec. 11 authorizes the federal government’s Export-Import Bank to continue in business until at least June 30, 2015. This federal-government owned bank provides loans and loan guarantees in the name of U.S. taxpayers to foreign corporations, including government-owned corporations, to buy products from U.S. businesses.
As CNSNews.com recently reported 65.4 percent of the Export-Import Bank’s loan guarantees over the past seventeen years went to benefit one company—Boeing.
According to Planned Parenthood’s 2012-2013 annual report, Planned Parenthood affiliates performed 327,166 abortions in fiscal year 2012 (Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012). In the year that ended on June 30, 2013, according to the annual report, Planned Parenthood affiliates received $540.6 million in government funds, accounting for 45 percent of their funding.
A Congressional Research Service report, published in January 2013, said: “The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) operates through a national office and 74 affiliates, which operate nearly 800 local health centers. Affiliates participating in Title X can receive funds directly from HHS or indirectly from other Title X grantees, such as their state or local health departments. PPFA and its affiliates receive about $66 million in annual Title X funding, according to the PPFA Washington Office.”
The law says that Title X money cannot be used for abortion. However, the CRS report said: “The prohibition on abortion does not apply to all the activities of a Title X grantee, but only to activities that are part of the Title X project.”
“Title X critics argue that federal funds should be withheld from any organization that performs or promotes abortions, such as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America,” said the CRS report. “These critics argue that federal funding for non-abortion activities frees up Planned Parenthood’s other resources for its abortion activities.”
On Sept. 26 of last year, Catholic Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who chairs the bishops' committee on religious freedom, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who chairs the bishops’ committee on the right to life, wrote to members of Congress asking them to include the substance of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act in “must-pass legislation” such as the CR.
That legislation would protect not only religious non-profits and for-profit businesses, but also individual Americans, from being forced to purchase health insurance that covers items to which they have a moral or religious objection.
In the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, decided this summer, the Supreme Court narrowly ruled that the regulation forcing for-profit corporations to provide health-insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs was not the most “least restrictive” means the government could have used to achieve its aim of widespread contraceptive distribution.
The Hobby Lobby case did not decide whether the government can force Christian non-profits to tell their insurance provider or the third-party administrator of their self-insurance plan to provide coverage to the non-profit’s employees for contraceptives, sterilizations or abortion-inducing drugs.
Also, no Supreme Court decision has been made, or law passed, to stop the administration from forcing individual Americans to buy health insurance plans that cover contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs—even if doing so violates the moral and religious beliefs of the individual.
The CR that the House Republicans are now planning to enact will permit the administration to use federal funds to enforce this regulation.
CNSNews.com asked the House Appropriations Committee whether the CR did anything to prohibit funding of Planned Parenthood, any provision of the Affordable Care Act, or enforcement of any regulation promulgated under the Affordable Care Act, including regulations that require Christian individuals, charities and schools to buy or provide insurance plans that cover contraceptives, sterilizations or abortion-inducing drugs.
“The CR continues all existing and current federal policies related to the issues you mentioned. It does not include any new policies on these topics,” said Jennifer Hing, the committee’s communications director.