Home

Blog

Recently Visited

  • Getting bills...

News, Commentary, and What to Watch on WashingtonWatch.com Blog Feed

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – April 13, 2015

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the weekof April 13, 2015. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: That Budget

We had the good sense to refrain from doing a musical number in the featured blog post this week.

Nonetheless: “It’s All About That Budget.”

Featured Items

The House and Senate return to Washington, D.C., this week.

Mid-week, the deadline for passing a congressional budget resolution arrives.

H. Con. Res. 27 is the House’s proposed budget. The House’s plan includes spending of a little under $28,400 per family.

The Senate budget proposal, S. Con. Res. 11, calls for a little over $28,600 in spending per U.S. family.

H. Con. Res. 27
Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025
Costs $28,379.16 per family

S. Con. Res. 11
An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025
Costs $28,645.45 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on H. Con. Res. 27. Click here to vote on H. Con. Res. 27.

H. Con. Res. 27
55% For, 45% Against

Vote on this Bill

Click here to vote on S. Con. Res. 11. Click here to vote on S. Con. Res. 11.

S. Con. Res. 11
29% For, 71% Against

Vote on this Bill


Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

New Items

H.R. 1026
The Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 901
The Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1408
The Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 299
The Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 766
The Driver Privacy Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 601
The Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 665
The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015
Costs $0.28 per family

H.R. 1480
The SAFE Act Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1058
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1069
The Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 373
The Good Samaritan Search and Recovery Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 125
The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2015
Costs $0.86 per family

H.R. 1259
The Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 1265
The Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act
Costs $0.03 per family

S. 834
The Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 690
The Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1324
The Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1195
The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Boards Act
Costs $0.08 per family

H.R. 1529
The Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 685
The Mortgage Choice Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1104
The Fair Treatment for All Donations Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1105
The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015
Saves $2,148.58 per family


Updated Items

none


Passed Items

P.L. 114-8
To designate the Federal building located at 2030 Southwest 145th Avenue in Miramar, Florida, as the “Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove Federal Bureau of Investigation Miami Field Office”

P.L. 114-9
Providing for the reappointment of David M. Rubenstein as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

It’s All About That Budget

We’ve resisted the temptation to try rewriting the lyrics to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” but it would probably go:

all about that budget, / ‘Bout that budget, no trouble
all about that budget, / ‘Bout that budget, no trouble

(That’s enough of that!)

But for us, it is all about that budget.

April 15th—Wednesday this week—is Congress’s deadline for passing a fiscal 2016 budget. The House and Senate bills must be reconciled and turned into a version that both agree on.

As USA Today reported on Friday, however, Congress will miss the deadline. Budget leaders in the House and Senate have promised to “strike a deal quickly.”

The House and Senate Budget Committee chairmen are Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY). They’re responsible for running these trains on time. But your member of Congress and senators are responsible for running the Budget Committee chairmen!

You’re always free to contact your representatives and tell them what you think the priority of Congress should be. Timely budgeting is more likely to produce responsible budgeting. And you can tell them what you think is responsible budgeting while you’re encouraging to get the work done.

To recap: H. Con. Res. 27 is the House’s budget resolution. It proposes a little under $28,400 in spending per family for fiscal 2016, which starts October 1st.

The Senate budget is S. Con. Res. 11. It plans for spending of about $28,600 per U.S. family.

Should the final budget come down more like the House’s? More like the Senate’s? Exactly in between? Or higher or lower than both?

As always, the right answer is up to you. Below are the current votes on the House and Senate budget resolutions. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki articles on the bills.

(2 comments | Categories: Appropriations/Budget » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – April 6, 2015

This is the WashingtonWatch.com digest for the week of April 6, 2015. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Iran

President Obama may have a legacy-making deal with Iran, but Congress may scuttle it.

Read about it in a post entitled: “Dealings Over a Deal with Iran.”

Featured Item

The House and Senate return to Washington, D.C., on April 13th.

When they do, the Senate is likely to debate S. 625, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.

The bill would provide for congressional review and oversight of agreements relating to Iran’s nuclear program.

There is no cost estimate for passage of S. 625.

S. 625
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. Click here to vote on The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015
76% For, 24% Against

Vote on this Bill


Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

New Items

H.R. 1562
The Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2015
Costs $0.06 per family

H.R. 1563
The Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 1295
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve the process for making determinations with respect to whether organizations are exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(4) of such Code
Costs $0.24 per family

H.R. 709
The Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1152
To prohibit officers and employees of the Internal Revenue Service from using personal email accounts to conduct official business
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 889
The Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 242
The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015
Costs $0.48 per family

H.R. 533
To revoke the charter of incorporation of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma at the request of that tribe, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 404
To authorize early repayment of obligations to the Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport Irrigation District in the State of Nebraska
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 438
The IRRIGATE Act
Costs $1.32 per family

H.R. 1168
The Native American Children’s Safety Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 979
To designate a mountain in the John Muir Wilderness of the Sierra National Forest as “Sky Point”
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 984
To amend the National Trails System Act to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study on the feasibility of designating the Chief Standing Bear National Historic Trail, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family


Updated Items

none


Passed Items

P.L. 114-7
The Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

Dealings Over a Deal with Iran

Iran flagA nuclear deal between Iran and international negotiators meeting in Switzerland may be scuttled by the U.S. Congress if Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) gets his way. And we may see something unusual: an override of a presidential veto.

If you’ve been too busy enjoying springtime and Easter, here’s the background: Intense negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have made progress, and they’ve reached the point where the outlines can be revealed (and handily summarized). The summary summary is that Iran would curtail its nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

Israel hates the idea, as do many Republicans. The deal would be a significant achievement for President Obama.

And here’s how it’s playing out in Congress.

Senator Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is leading the charge on legislation that would give Congress tight oversight of any final deal. The leading bill is S. 625, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. (It’s not clear from reading the bill that Congress would actually get the final say, but it would have more influence.) Corker also has his own bill, S. 615.

Senator Corker is working to assemble a veto-proof majority of supporters in the Senate to help make sure that the bill will become law, even if President Obama rejects it.

Should the Iran nuclear deal go through? Should the bill go through?

One side says that the deal offers a new hope for peace in the Middle East. The other side says that this would strengthen Iran’s hand and its ability to threaten its neighbors.

If the bill goes through, Congress may scuttle the deal. Or it may have beneficial influence over the process—but, again, maybe not control.

As usual, the right answer is up to you. It’s up to you to let your representatives know how they should deal with this sensitive and important geopolitical issue.

Here’s the current vote on S. 625. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki article on the bill.

(1 comment | Categories: national defense » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – March 30, 2015

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of March 30, 2015. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Spring Break!

Before leaving for two weeks of fun in the sun, the House and Senate each got some business out of the way. But Congress will have to move quickly to get the budgeting done on time when it returns.

Read about it in a post entitled: “Break Time!

Featured Items

The House and Senate will not assemble this week. They return to Washington, D.C., April 13th.

Last week, the House passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. The bill repeals the “sustainable growth rate” cap on Medicare payments, and it extends funding for Child Heath Insurance Program for two years.

Passage of H.R. 2 would cost about $1,200 per U.S. family.

The Senate passed its budget proposal last week. S. Con. Res. 11, the Senate budget resolution, calls for a little over $28,500 in spending per U.S. family during fiscal 2016.

Congress’s final budget plan, agreed to by both houses, is supposed to be done by April 15th.

H.R. 2
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015
Costs $1,212.71 per family

S. Con. Res. 11
An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025
Costs $28,617.54 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. Click here to vote on The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015
33% For, 67% Against

Vote on this Bill

Click here to vote on S. Con. Res. 11. Click here to vote on S. Con. Res. 11.

S. Con. Res. 11
37% For, 63% Against

Vote on this Bill


Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

New Items

S. 792
The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015
Costs $0.07 per family

H.R. 874
The American Super Computing Leadership Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 465
The Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2015
Costs $0.69 per family

S. 142
The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 2
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015
Costs $1,212.71 per family

H.R. 897
The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 35
The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act of 2015
Costs $0.35 per family

H.R. 195
The Election Assistance Commission Termination Act
Saves $0.36 per family


Updated Items

none


Passed Items

none

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

Break Time!

Spring Break…and maybe Congress has earned it.

The House and Senate go on hiatus this week and next. They’ll return to work in Washington, D.C., on April 13th.

Before they left town, each chamber had a little productive streak, with Medicare legislation moving in the House and the Senate getting some budgeting done.

The House debated and passed—with bipartisan votes—H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.

The bill repeals the “sustainable growth rate” intended to keep Medicare payments to physicians under control. Since the SGR has been in effect, the medical provider lobby has put off its application year over year to the point where they faced a 21% cut in pay if the SGR went into effect this year.

When the stakes are that high, you dedicate good time and effort to influencing Congress, and recipients of Medicare payments in the health care world have certainly put in the effort to put Medicare back onto its proper unsustainable path. (We’ve made that joke before. If the “sustainable growth rate” is reppealed, it’s unsustainable, right?)

H.R. 2 also extends funding for Child Heath Insurance Program for two years and increases funding to the States for that program.

The tab is not insignificant. H.R. 2 costs a little over $1,200 per U.S. family, increasing the national debt by a little less than that amount because it brings in a wee bit of revenue.

On the Senate side, last week was budget week. The upper house debated and passed its blueprint for spending in fiscal 2016, which begins October 1st.

S. Con. Res. 11 is the Senate’s budget resolution. The Senate’s plan calls for spending of about $28,500 per family.

That’s a notch higher than the House’s plan for spending of $28,350 per family.

When the House and Senate return, they are supposed to craft a compromise budget resolution, which will serve as a guide for the actual spending done by the House and Senate appropriations committees.

The deadline for finalizing the budget resolution is two days after Congress returns from their spring break, April 15th. House and Senate budget negotiators might want to consider putting in some overtime during the break!

Here are the current votes on H.R. 2 and S. Con. Res. 11. Click to vote, comment, learn more, and edit the wiki articles on the bills.

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – March 23, 2015

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of March 23, 2015. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: The 2016 Budget

The next major step in the fiscal 2016 budget process happened last week with the introduction of congressional budget resolutions on both sides of the Capitol. The House and the Senate budgets differ dramatically … in terms of what’s available to the public.

Read about it in a post entitled: “A House Budget and a Senate Transparency Failure.”

Featured Items

President Obama proposed his budget plan for fiscal 2016 on time in early February. It called for about $37,000 in spending per U.S. family.

Now a pair of budget proposals have been introduced in the House and Senate.

H. Con. Res. 27 is the House’s proposed budget. The House’s plan includes spending of a little over $28,000 per family.

The Senate budget proposal, S. Con. Res. 11, calls for about $35,750 in spending per U.S. family.

The House and Senate will debate and pass their budgets, then reconcile the different versions. The final budget plan, which is supposed to be done by April 15th, dictates the amounts that will be available to the appropriations subcommittees when they debate their spending bills this summer.

H. Con. Res. 27
Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025
Costs $28,333.41 per family

S. Con. Res. 11
An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025

What People Think

Click here to vote on H. Con. Res. 27. Click here to vote on H. Con. Res. 27.

H. Con. Res. 27
66% For, 34% Against

Vote on this Bill

Click here to vote on S. Con. Res. 11. Click here to vote on S. Con. Res. 11.

S. Con. Res. 11
33% For, 67% Against

Vote on this Bill


Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

New Items

H.R. 1162
The Science Prize Competitions Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 501
The New Mexico Navajo Water Settlement Technical Corrections Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 546
The RESPONSE Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 719
The TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 460
The Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 615
The Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 558
The Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 579
The Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2015
Costs $0.39 per family

H.R. 1021
The Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act of 2015
Costs $0.27 per family

H.R. 757
The North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2015
Costs $0.09 per family

H.R. 639
The Improving Regulatory Transparency for New Medical Therapies Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 230
A bill to provide for the conveyance of certain property to the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation located in Bethel, Alaska
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 143
The United States Merchant Marine Academy Improvements Act of 2015
Costs $0.17 per family

H.R. 412
To reduce Federal spending and the deficit by terminating taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns
Costs $0.74 per family


Updated Items

H.R. 647
The Access to Life-Saving Trauma Care for All Americans Act
Costs $6.93 per family


Passed Items

P.L. 114-6
The Office of Compliance Administrative and Technical Corrections Act of 2015

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

A House Budget and a Senate Transparency Failure

budget_processAn important step in the annual budgeting and spending process occurred on Friday, when congressional budget resolutions were introduced in both the House and Senate.

After the president produces his budget, the next stage in the process is for Congress to produce its own budget, taking President Obama’s proposal into consideration.

The House and Senate each consider a proposal, then they come together on a final version. The congressional budget resolution will then determine how much money the appropriations subcommittees have to spend in the areas the oversee.

There has been some attention paid to wrangling among budget leaders. With both houses controlled by Republicans, budgeting leaders are supposed to get along, and when they don’t, that’s news. (Would it be any surprise that the result was more spending?)

But the key difference between the proposals we care about is that the House actually published their bill, and the Senate did not.

If you go to the bill pages for House Concurrent Resolution 27 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 11, you’ll find a key difference when you click “Read the Bill” in the “Learn More” box. The House link takes you to the text of the House’s proposal. The Senate link takes you to the inscription: “The text of S.CON.RES.11 has not yet been received from GPO.”

The bill may have been introduced, but we can’t see it yet, so does that really count? It may have been introduced according to Senate rules, but has it been introduced to the public?

(The “not yet received” notice will disappear when the bill text is processed and made available to us.)

Adding insult to injury, if you go looking for the text of the bill online, the most prominent document made available by the Senate Budget Committee—at a link that literally says “CLICK HERE FOR THE BALANCED BUDGET RESOLUTION”—is a promotional piece that could best be described as ‘spintastic.’

The Senate document claims that their plan “Balances the Budget in 10 Years.” It “Ensures Flexibility for Funding National Defense.” It “Provides Repeal and Replacement of Obamacare. [sic]” And more. But do you know what the document doesn’t tell you? WHAT THE SENATE BUDGET RESOLUTION SAYS.

In fact, if you scroll down to the draft budget resolution that is included in the document, it literally has this line in the section on outlays/spending: “Fiscal year 2016: $_______,000,000.”

Now, we’re being a little unfair here because there is a chart tucked in the document that says that total outlays will be $3.8 trillion. But that’s a chart summarizing what the resolution may say. It’s not the Senate budget resolution. We’ll know what it says when we see what it says.

The House budget resolution, on the other hand, is available. You can look at it (again, click on “Read the Bill”) and see what the House proposes for federal spending in fiscal 2016.

The House proposes $3,009,033,000,000 in spending. It’s a much lower number than the Senate is apparently going to propose, and it’s not rounded like the one from the Senate chart. It amounts to a little over $28,000 in spending per U.S. family. The Senate will propose about $35,750 per family, something like the president’s $37,000 proposal. (Haha. We get to round our numbers on our blog posts. The Senate Budget Committee doesn’t in what it calls its budget resolution!)

That’s a lot of money, and one can have their opinions on whether it’s the right amount. One can have opinions on whether it will be well spent, such as for that reported increase in military spending.

But one thing is clear: The House has introduced a budget resolution to the public. The Senate has introduced a budget resolution to itself and a select group of insiders. The House has a budget resolution. The Senate has a transparency failure.

Here are the current votes on the two budget resolutions. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki articles on the bills.

(3 comments | Categories: Appropriations/Budget » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – March 16, 2015

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of March 16, 2015. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Drama

A bill up for debate in the Senate this week puts some important values in tension. That’s why this week we call it “The Soap Operatic Senate.”

Featured Item

This week, the Senate will debate S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015.

In a variety of ways, the bill seeks to prevent human trafficking and assist victims of such activities. It also bars the use of federal funds for abortion.

Passage of S. 178 would cost about $0.02 per U.S. family.

S. 178
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
Costs $0.02 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. Click here to vote on The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015.

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
66% For, 34% Against

Vote on this Bill


Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

New Items

H.R. 876
The NOTICE Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1156
The International Science and Technology Cooperation Act of 2015
Costs $0.78 per family

H.R. 887
The Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015
Costs $0.15 per family

H.R. 1119
The Research and Development Efficiency Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1030
The Secret Science Reform Act of 2015
Costs $7.00 per family

S. 304
The Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act
Costs $0.03 per family

H.R. 647
The Access to Life-Saving Trauma Care for All Americans Act
Costs $3.46 per family

H.R. 648
The Trauma Systems and Regionalization of Emergency Care Reauthorization Act
Costs $1.11 per family

S. 136
The Gold Star Fathers Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 284
The Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

S. 166
The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 178
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 471
The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family


Updated Items

none


Passed Items

P.L. 114-4
The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015

P.L. 114-5
To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Foot Soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March of 1965, which served as a catalyst for the Voting Rights Act of 1965

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

The Soap Operatic Senate

Henry HydeSoap operas weave together shocking story lines to keep their viewers hooked, and this week the Senate is doing the same. Maybe this week’s story will hook you.

The bill under consideration in the Senate is S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. It includes a wide variety of provisions meant to prevent human trafficking and assist victims of trafficking. (For a summary, go to the bill’s page click “Read an Analysis of the Bill” in the “Learn More” box. To read the bill, click “Read the Bill”!)

Human trafficking and sexual abuse are horrible crimes, of course. It’s not guaranteed that the provisions of the bill would fix the problem, bit they are widely agreed upon in the Senate. Most of them, at least.

The bill also contains a provision commonly known as the Hyde Amendment. Named after Henry Hyde, the late Republican congressman from Illinois who inserted it into legislation in 1976, the Hyde Amendment bars federal funds from being used to pay for abortions, unless a pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.

That’s controversial to many Democrats, including some who signed onto S. 178 when it was introduced. They are now planning to oppose the bill when it is debated this week, unless that language comes out.

So the Senate has turned soap operatic, and a sharp contest of values is playing out there.

What do you think? Unlike a soap opera, this is real life, and there are real values in tension. How do you reconcile them? Is it more important to you that federal efforts to suppress trafficking become law or that federal funds be available for abortion? That’s a tough call for some people.

You can express your views on the bill by voting, commenting, and editing the wiki article about the bill. Here is the current vote, reflecting what other WashingtonWatch.com visitors think:

(3 comments | Categories: Crime » )