Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) voted against a bill last week that would fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for the next year.
His reasoning? He says the measure included “support of taxpayer-funded abortions” — which it does not — and that he does not believe the nation can afford that, after tax cuts he voted for massively expanded the budget deficit.
My bi-weekly email update was delivered this past Sunday! Click here to read an update on things happening in our district and our nation’s capital! https://t.co/9QfZpPH2cK
— Rep. Lloyd Smucker (@RepSmucker) June 24, 2019
Smucker is a longtime opponent of abortion rights. In his bi-weekly newsletter — delivered Sunday and tweeted out on Monday — the second-term congressman explained his objection in a section called “In Defense of the Unborn.”
“Last week, the House Democrats offered a spending package (H.R. 2740) that will spend billions more than our current budget caps allow—including in support of taxpayer-funded abortions,” he wrote.
“Our nation is more than $20 trillion in debt, and longstanding policy has been to separate abortion from healthcare funding. The bill would overturn these provisions and would also undermine other critical protections for the lives of the unborn. I couldn’t support these provisions and opposed the bill.”
Smucker included a link to a floor speech from Friday in which he railed against the provisions.
While the bill, which cleared the House, would continue limited funding for fetal tissue research and would lift a gag order by President Donald Trump for family planning providers who mention abortion, it does not actually provide any funding for abortions.
“Hyde Amendment” prohibitions also were included in the bill, which would make it harder for poor women and gender minorities to access abortions.
Even if he weren’t wrong about the legislation, Smucker’s fiscal rationale for opposing it is hard to grasp. In his first term in Congress, Smucker voted for a massive tax cut which significantly expanded the budget deficit and national debt. Even after it became apparent that these tax cuts were not going to pay for themselves, he voted for another bill to make them permanent.
Thanks to Smucker’s vote, and those of his Republican colleagues, the federal budget deficit reached an all-time high in November and the national debt has never been larger.