Monday, November 26, 2018

It's time for Congress to stop choosing death

As Congress returns briefly to end the year, an important question remains.

How is that with two years of Republican control of both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, the United States federal government is still giving millions of dollars every year directly to abortion providers?

I think there are two answers to this question.

First, the filibuster rules in the Senate mean without 60 pro-life votes for a super-majority in the Senate, those in favor of abortion can block legislation that would de-fund abortion providers.

Second, any serious attempt to pass legislation that removes abortion provider funding would face serious opposition. That would get as much attention as the Kavanaugh confirmation smear campaign.

Are pro-life members of Congress ready and willing to take on that fight? Some are. Others would prefer their pro-life positions get less attention. Some may wish to appear pro-life, but actually are not. Wherever one may think the votes are now, it's time for choosing.

I was excited when Paul Ryan became Speaker of the House. I remember when he joined Mitt Romney's campaign and openly declared he was “as pro-life as they come.” Now he's on his way out, and he still has a window of opportunity to make good fully on his pro-life position. Perhaps he can be “as pro-life as he goes.”

As critical and crucial as this fight is, I think it could also have benefits beyond the pro-life issue.

Congress has suffered from serious budget dysfunction for years. The budgeting law from the 1970's has never seriously been followed, and if anything, Congress' efforts to force itself to perform have actually made its job unnecessarily difficult.

There's no good reason Congress should assume that anyone who got federal taxpayer and debt money in previous years should continue to get federal taxpayer and debt money in subsequent years, especially since the proliferation of federal government activities beyond (a) the basic roles of government, and (b) the narrowing of government's role at the federal, non-state level to the specifics defined in the Constitution.

President Trump could be exactly the encouragement Congress needs to make this happen. Last year he declared he would never again sign an all-encompassing omnibus spending bill, and Congress actually appropriated better than normal this past year. If President Trump was just as forceful about abortion funding, we could see the end of federal funding of abortion in a short amount of time.

Breaking the power of this entrenched interest in Washington could go a long way toward breaking the spending habit in Congress.

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