The House passed legislation today aimed at barring the use of federal funds by insurance plans that provide abortions, a key element of the GOP’s Pledge to America.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), was passed on a largely party-line vote of 251-172 after a day of often bitter debate on the House floor.
Passage of the measure was a mostly symbolic maneuver by the GOP, which took up the bill to keep its pledge and placate social conservatives who have frequently chafed at the lack of action on social issues during this Congress.
Before the vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attacked the measure.
“Under this bill, when the Republicans vote for this bill today, they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor and health care providers do not have to intervene if this bill is passed. It’s just appalling. It’s a health issue, this is a health issue,” the California Democrat told reporters.
“America’s families deserve better than this, and again today is another example of wasted opportunity instead of taking up even an aspect of the president’s jobs bill,” she added.
Speaker John Boehner dismissed those criticisms.
“We’ve done four or five solid job creation bills this week, and this bill is part of our Pledge to America,” the Ohio Republican said before the vote. “We’re keeping our word to the American people, and we’re going to do it.”
The bill, like most of the GOP’s social agenda this year, has virtually no chance of becoming law in the 112th Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) won’t bring it to the Senate floor, and President Barack Obama has indicated he would veto the measure if it ever made it to his desk.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.