The Republican Study Committee, led by Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana, has sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), notifying them that the committee has pledged to unanimously and rigorously defend the historic Hyde Amendment.
"We pledge to vote against any government funding bill that eliminates or weakens the Hyde Amendment or other current-law, pro-life appropriations provisions," the letter to leading Democrats says.
The Hyde Amendment is the Bill Clinton-era policy, maintained through both Republican and Democrat administrations, that prohibits any federal tax dollars from financing abortions. It is a policy that the current president once vigorously supported.
"I will continue to abide by the same principle that has guided me throughout my 21 years in the Senate: those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them," Joe Biden said in 1994. "As you may know, I have consistently – on no fewer than 50 occasions – voted against federal funding of abortions."
But after Biden completely reversed his stance on the issue during the recent presidential campaign by claiming "circumstances have changed," congressional Republicans decided it was important to formalize and publicize their position.
Leading Republicans, including Banks, say they view the Hyde Amendment as "a line in the sand" that they are unwilling to cross.
"Millions of Americans do not want their hard-earned money used to pay for abortions," Banks wrote in the letter. "My colleagues and I demand congressional leaders protect the ban on taxpayer-funded abortions and save the Hyde Amendment."