Where Things Stand: Swing District House GOPers Are Planning To Block Own Party’s Anti-Abortion Efforts

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: U.S. House Republican leaders Steve Scalise (R-LA) (L) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) talk in the House Chamber during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol ... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: U.S. House Republican leaders Steve Scalise (R-LA) (L) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) talk in the House Chamber during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2023 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is meeting to vote for the next Speaker after McCarthy failed to earn more than 218 votes on 13 ballots over three days; the first time in 100 years that the Speaker was not elected on the first ballot. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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The Washington Post published a piece this weekend on the ways in which moderate Republicans in the House are getting sick of the far-right Freedom Caucus’ ongoing revolt as its members flex their power over House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), pushing increasingly extreme and sometimes bizarre messaging bills that will harm those in swing districts in 2024. There’s an interesting nugget of reporting tucked into the piece that touches on the trend we’ve seen since Roe was overturned: Republicans are seeing the writing on the wall with abortion and it’s not looking pretty.

Republicans from swing districts are reportedly asking party leadership to be selective about which messaging bills they bring to the House floor so that vulnerable members aren’t punished back home for following the party line in D.C. For example, New York Republicans who flipped their districts from Democratic to Republican in the midterms recently convinced party leadership to do away with amendments that could be considered “anti-union” as they court white working class voters back home.

Swing district Republicans have similar concerns with abortion messaging bills, according to the Post. As I wrote last month, some House Republicans in recent weeks have been watching with unease as 2024 candidates fumble on abortion and have privately expressed concerns about voting on any new anti-abortion legislation that could upset voters back home. That includes the Hyde Amendment, Congress’ perennial football that seeks to place limits on taxpayer funds for abortion care.

During a meeting with GOP leadership, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) last month, a handful of House Republicans were reportedly dismayed that leadership wanted to put forward a bill that would codify the Hyde Amendment into law. After objections, that plan was scrapped, but that was reportedly not the end of swing-district Republicans’ objections to pushing more votes on abortion. Per the Post:

A group of swing-district Republicans has vowed theywill continue to defeat abortion-related amendments that come to the House floor, a person familiar with the discussion said.

But the ongoing appropriations process will be more complicated for thoseRepublicans, as their more conservative counterparts are expected to tuck several strict antiabortion measures into must-pass spending bills. Those additions will not only create conflict within the House GOP but also with the Democratic-controlled Senate. A House subcommittee overseeing the Food and Drug Administration has already approved language limiting access to mifepristone, a prescription abortion pill — a limitation not all Republican lawmakers support.

It’s a trend that will likely continue into 2024 as Republicans struggle to find their footing on abortion after voters punish those who have pushed anti-abortion policies in election after election since the Dobbs ruling.

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