Looking to counter a press conference earlier Friday by Democratic women in the Senate lambasting the GOP over their refusal to drop provisions blocking women's health funding, Republican women in the House held a gathering of their own on Friday afternoon. But the presser proved a frustrating affair for the members, who were asked over and over again without success to explain if they agreed with the policy riders or not.
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In their opening remarks, the 15 congresswomen present each sought to frame the battle over a continuing resolution as one about spending, with several saying future prosperity spurred by lower debt would benefit their daughters and granddaughters -- seemingly a direct rejoinder to Democratic accusations that the GOP was targeting women and children. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said that the Democrats' spending was "economic child abuse."
But despite charging Democrats with falsely claiming negotiations were hinging on social issues, the members appeared uncomfortable even bringing up the policy riders in question by name. Not one member recited the words "Planned Parenthood" in opening remarks and only one member, Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, even mentioned the word "abortion." Several addressed Democratic charges that policy provisions regarding women's health and abortion were holding up a final deal only in the most indirect terms.