President Obama submitted a $1.8 billion funding request to Congress to fight the Zika virus, a mosquito-born virus that can cause fetal deformities, but not surprisingly, our Republican-controlled Congress isn't exactly jumping to give it to him.
While Congressional Democrats have urged their colleagues to pass the measure without delay, Congressional Republicans want to go through the committee process and ensure none of the funding is used to pay for abortion.
House Appropriations spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said, “The committee will carefully review the request when it is received.” [...]
But, like with other recent spending bills, contentious policy issues could complicate the proposals journey to passage. One is whether funds that would be allocated under the White House’s plan could be used for abortions in cases where Zika has caused birth defects on unborn children.
[White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest] said he hopes lawmakers can resolve such issues in a way that allows them to still quickly approve the proposal.
I wouldn't count on it.
Even if none of the funding was ever going to be used for that purpose, it doesn't matter. So-called "pro-lifers" in the conservative entertainment complex are already writing furious screeds against the president's request to fight the virus.
Under the Hyde Amendment -- a policy Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for repealing -- taxpayer dollars cannot be used to pay for abortion, but movement conservatives will swear to you that taxpayer funds are used to pay for abortion every day. It doesn't matter if it isn't true. Their threshold to declare that something is true is the moment the idea enters their head.
I expect Congress will eventually pass a measure to fight the virus, but I also expect the final package will be considerably less than the president has requested and passage will not occur until various committee members have had a chance to bleat about abortion during an election year.