GOP LHHS Bill Legislates for Life
Amidst all the turmoil in Washington, D.C. in recent months, House Republicans are forging ahead with their goal of passing individual spending bills for each federal agency. For at least a decade, Congress has not done this and instead has enacted continuing resolutions that fund the government at or above previous years’ spending levels. The federal government has been saturated in unnecessary programs, leftist policies, and enormous debt by avoiding the tough choices. Thankfully, many Republicans continue to hold the line on fiscal conservatism and regular order even though the Senate’s Democrat majority has refused to vote on the appropriations bills passed by the House of Representatives.
To date, the House has successfully passed seven out of the twelve appropriations bills. After Thanksgiving, the House will consider the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education “LHHS” funding bill (H.R. 5894). The Obama and Biden administrations have used programs in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to promote abortion, gender ideology, and critical race theory. Now that the Left is pushing everything under the “health” umbrella (“abortion is healthcare” and “gender-affirming care in necessary medical care”), conservatives in Congress need to defund as much of this social engineering as possible.
The House LHHS bill would cut spending on these programs by $60.3 billion, 29% lower than the previous year’s levels. The bill eliminates sixty-one programs and reduces funding in certain departments including the National Institute for Health and Centers for Disease Control. Congress is correct to scrutinize the ridiculous research projects such as the romantic patterns of parrots or incredibly dangerous “gain-of-function” research that could cause another pandemic.
The Left loves to fund abortion programs through the HHS spending bill, but pro-lifers in the House are attempting to stop it. The House LHHS bill would eliminate all Title X family planning money. The Trump administration was successful in diverting that money toward women’s health clinics rather than abortion facilities, but the Biden administration reversed course. Title X money also funds problematic school-based sex education programs that encourage children to have sex and introduce them to radical gender ideology. Additionally, the House bill would maintain the Hyde Amendment which prevents federal funding of abortion.
In addition, the LHHS bill would prohibit funding research that uses any fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions. It also prohibits human embryos from being created or destroyed for research (also known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment).
Republicans included provisions in the bill to reverse the Left’s attempts to spread “sexual orientation/gender identity” (SOGI) politics throughout the federal government. Language in the LHHS bill prohibits the implementation of Biden’s executive order on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation that blurs the distinctions between males and females and endorses medical procedures on children without parental consent. In addition, the LHHS bill would prohibit taxpayer funding of genital-mutilating medical procedures.
The Biden Administration has also targeted the Department of Education’s Title IX rule that protects women’s sports and privacy by proposing a new rule that redefines “sex” to include gender identity rather than biology. This would allow men access to women’s sports, locker rooms, and bathrooms. The LHHS bill includes language to prohibit the new rule from being implemented.
The radical Biden administration policies have negatively impacted individuals with sincerely held religious beliefs. For example, pro-life medical professionals should not be forced to assist in abortion procedures or dispense abortion drugs. The LHHS bill contains a private right of action for individuals who are forced into these situations and denied their conscience rights. Similarly, it extends the same protections to individuals who believe that marriage should only be between one man and one woman.
Perhaps one of the biggest secrets of the Biden administration is the amount of money HHS has paid to assist unaccompanied minors who cross the border, many of whom “disappear” once in the United States. HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement has spent more than $13 billion since 2012 on sponsoring children to come to the U.S. In the last two years, HHS has been unable to contact 85,000 of those minors. This negligence opens the door for human traffickers to take advantage of these kids. This bill deeply reduces funding for this program to disincentivize families to send their children across the border alone.
As in many other House appropriations bills this year, LHHS would prohibit funds for critical race theory (CRT) whether in the classroom or the workplace, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies in investments.
Even though the House is making progress on each appropriations bill, they obviously can’t finish before the current CR expires (on November 17). To avert a government shutdown, the House has passed a two-step continuing resolution (H.R.6363) that funds Agriculture, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Energy and Water through January 19, 2024. All other appropriations bills will expire two weeks later. The CR passed this week by a vote of 336-95, with more Democrat votes than Republican. Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus are unhappy with the spending levels (same as last year) in the bill but will continue to work on passing the bills individually to secure the policy and funding levels that protect American tax dollars. We encourage them in their efforts!