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Biden Says He Would Sign Reconciliation Bill With or Without Hyde Amendment

President Joe Biden departs the White House in Washington, D.C., October 5, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President Biden said Tuesday that he will sign off on Democrats’ massive social-spending package regardless of whether it includes the Hyde amendment, a stipulation that prohibits taxpayer money from funding abortions.

A reporter asked the president if he is “okay” if the Hyde Amendment is in the reconciliation bill, to which Biden responded, “I want to get the bill passed.”

“Would you sign it if the Hyde Amendment is in [the bill]?” the reporter asked.

“I’d sign it either way,” Biden added. 

Meanwhile, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.), chair of the progressive caucus, said Sunday that she will not support the reconciliation package if it includes the Hyde Amendment.

On Sunday, CNN anchor Dana Bash noted that Jayapal had shared her experience with abortion in congressional testimony last week. She asked the congresswoman if she would be able to vote for a bill that has the Hyde amendment included. 

“No,” Jayapal said.

“So what happens?” Bash asked.

Jayapal responded that “this is a negotiation” and then claimed that the Hyde Amendment is a measure that “the majority of the country does not support,” despite the fact that a January 2021 Marist Poll showed that 58 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, while 38 support it. The poll’s results were largely consistent with polling on the Hyde amendment in recent years.

She added that one-in-four American women have had an abortion and are in need of reproductive care during a time “when those protections are being rolled back.”

“That is nobody’s business,” Jayapal said. “It is our business as people that carry the babies. And we have to be able to make the choices during our pregnancy.” Bash then questioned whether Jayapal was suggesting federal money should be spent on abortion in the spending package.

“No. None of the dollars here are going for that,” the congresswoman said. Jayapal added that she thinks Manchin is asking for “something more than” just the Hyde Amendment.

Jayapal’s comments came days after Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) told National Review that the bill would be “dead on arrival” if the Hyde amendment were not included. 

“Yeah, we’re not taking the Hyde amendment off. Hyde’s going to be on,” he said last week.

On Monday, Manchin reiterated that the Hyde amendment is a “red line.”

Biden’s comment follow days of negotiations between moderate and progressive members of the party over the cost of the reconciliation package. Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) have refused to support the initial proposal of $3.5 trillion for the massive social-spending bill, while progressives forced the House to delay a vote on a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill last week as they refused to support the infrastructure bill until Congress acts on the reconciliation bill.

President Biden has hoped to quell intraparty conflict with a compromise topline of $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion for Democrats’ reconciliation bill.

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