The whole point of disaster relief is to help communities cope with loss -- not create more! Too bad Democrats don't agree. When Congress got together earlier this spring to deal with the fallout from the string of storms and wildfires, the last thing anyone should've worried about was a radical social agenda hijacking the entire process. But liberals can't help themselves. They see a big pot of money and their minds automatically go to one thing: abortion.
For weeks, Republicans have been trying to slog through an emergency aid package for places across the Midwest, South, and West Coast. Of all the things the two parties could disagree about, this bill hardly seems like a flashpoint. But then, nothing under the new House majority is easy -- including helping people rebuild and recover. Despite the catastrophes, the Left doesn't seem nearly as concerned about coming alongside hurting families as it is about filling the pockets of Planned Parenthood. And when there's $13 billion on the table, you can bet that Democrats will find some excuse to weasel away that money from actual storm victims and funnel it to the abortion industry instead.
On H.R. 2157, the Left has been especially creative at finding a back-door way to send dollars to groups like Leana Wen's. Americans saw this same thing happen a few years ago when Congress tried to divvy up money to fight the Zika virus. Instead of funding the vaccine, liberals wanted to turn a health crisis into another opportunity to direct dollars to the world's richest abortion business. Why? No one knows since the threat wasn't babies -- it was mosquitoes!
This time around, Democrats are even craftier. They know there's a portion of the measure aimed at social security block grants. Under those, there's as much as $250 million available to help cities affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, two typhoons, and the California wildfires. If liberals get their way, Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics would have just as much access to that money as other victims. If their clinics are damaged, taxpayers could be forced to help them rebuild. Although the Hyde amendment would still apply (meaning that no government dollars could directly fund abortion), we all know that money is fungible. Whatever the government gives these clinics only frees up other dollars for the deadlier side of business.
It's ironic. Democrats like to complain about churches being eligible for disaster relief after any sort of national catastrophe. But how can anyone argue that faith-based groups shouldn't be allowed to access emergency funds and businesses who destroy lives for profit should? If there's a starker contrast between the two parties, I haven't found it.
And the controversy doesn't stop there. It's bad enough that the Left is creating competition for federal dollars that devastated families don't need. But what's worse is that Planned Parenthood (which is still under federal investigation) may also be entitled to "family planning" funds under these same grants. Now, most of you are probably wondering: what does storm clean-up have to do with contraception? Not much -- which may be why the talks keep collapsing.
As one Republican aide said last month, this whole deal could've been worked out in April if Democrats haven't complicated "necessary relief... with poison pill riders." "What do walls, detention beds, and abortion [language] in the Pelosi-Schumer bill have to do with disaster relief?... They need to step off their all-or-nothing approach and work with Republicans to deliver an outcome for these storm-hit areas."
Of course, Democrats will keep putting the blame on the GOP for slowing things down. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) even went so far as to write a CNN column insisting that Republicans aren't negotiating in good faith. "We have a responsibility to deliver this assistance to our fellow Americans as they work to rebuild their lives and their communities," she argued. If liberals are so concerned about rebuilding lives, maybe they should stop trying to reward the industry committed to destroying them.
If Congress wants to help people, that's one thing. But it's time to remind Democrats: one disaster shouldn't lead to another!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.