House Republicans Push to Keep Hyde Amendment in Funding Bills

The letter, signed by 26 Republican committee members, came two days before the White House on Friday made its discretionary budget request for the upcoming fiscal year.

United States Capitol building.
United States Capitol building. (photo: Raroarro / Shutterstock)

WASHINGTON — Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday warned against allowing taxpayer-funded abortion in fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills.

The members urged the continued inclusion of pro-life policies in forthcoming budget bills - namely the Hyde Amendment, federal policy since 1976 that has barred funding of elective abortions. 

“We sincerely urge you to keep the Hyde provisions and other similar Hyde-type policies that have been enacted in annual appropriations bills as you develop the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills,” said an April 7 letter to Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chairwoman of the appropriations committee. 

“These provisions reflect a time-tested balance of strongly held and differing perspectives on abortion in this country,” the committee’s Republican members stated. “As such, we will strongly oppose any appropriations bill that seeks to weaken pro-life protections or eliminates Hyde policies.”

The letter, signed by 26 Republican committee members, came two days before the White House on Friday made its discretionary budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. Although the request was just a summary of the full budget, which will be released later, the pro-abortion group All Above All stated on Friday "We’re eager to see his full budget without Hyde."

DeLauro has signaled her intent to repeal the Hyde Amendment, calling it a “discriminatory policy” at a committee hearing in December. 

The members reminded DeLauro that President Joe Biden encouraged unity among Americans during his Inaugural Address, adding that “we agree that unity at this time is certainly needed, particularly in light of the divided political climate.” 

“And, while the country may be divided on the question of abortion, a significant majority of Americans do agree that the federal government should not use taxpayer dollars to subsidize abortion,” they said. 

The Hyde Amendment is a rider that is attached to appropriations bills, preventing the use of funds in the legislation to pay for elective abortions. It is named after the late Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., who sponsored the amendment in 1976 when it was first signed into law.

Although it was faced with opposition from the beginning - the federal government shut down three times in 1977 over abortion funding battles - the amendment has historically received bipartisan support.

While a senator, Biden was a supporter of the Hyde Amendment. As a presidential candidate, however, he reversed his support over the course of 24 hours in June 2019, and now opposes the policy. Vice President Kamala Harris, who at the time was running for president as a senator from California, credited herself for Biden’s leftward swing on abortion. 

Other Democratic leaders, including DeLauro and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have also promised to repeal the Hyde Amendment. 

The 2016 and 2020 Democratic Party platforms each called for a repeal of Hyde. The recent COVID relief bill did not contain Hyde provisions, a departure from the 2020 CARES Act which included Hyde language and provisions barring funding for Planned Parenthood.