H.R. 3, the so-called "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," is back and scheduled for floor action in the House on Wednesday. And so at the risk of... whatever it is you risk when you put a giant video of yourself in a front page post... I want to take you back to the discussion of just how bad this thing is, and why it threatens American values on both the left and the right.
Among the sea of vindictive bills chasing irrelevant Republican pipe dreams, even in the face of the overwhelming demand for action on jobs, H.R. 3 stands out as the worst of the worst—a giant tax hike on people who dare to believe that abortion ought to remain a legal and available option in America, and a back-door assault on the narrow exceptions to abortion bans that even most abortion opponents accepted as morally and medically necessary.
I discussed with you back in February just how dangerous and far-reaching H.R. 3's provisions were. And we'll hear plenty today and tomorrow about how there's a Republican war on women, about how the redefinition of rape is sneaking back in, and about how federal law already bans the use of taxpayer funds for abortion. All of which is true.
But H.R. 3 is much, much worse than even all of that, combined. And what makes it so bad is that in their zeal to "get" people who believe abortion should be legal and available, Republicans (and some Democratic enablers) are betraying the supposed "small government values" they claim to live by, and doing it in the most dangerous possible way. Because in order to make their punishment scheme work, they have to redefine the generally accepted public understanding of what separates "your money" from "the government's money." And they do it in a way that ends up giving the government the power to literally reach into every wallet in America and federalize every dollar inside.
You really couldn't gut the supposed "Tea Party values" any worse if you tried.
In order to make their "no taxpayer funding for abortion" scheme work, Republicans use H.R. 3 to disallow tax deductions for your health care expenses if your private insurance plan covers abortion. Not if you actually get an abortion. And not if a member of your family does. All it takes for you to see your taxes hiked is if the private insurance plan you selected and paid for with your own money permits coverage of abortion at all. For anyone. Even if you never get one and never plan to. If you bought a plan that agrees to cover abortion if someone else totally unrelated to you needs one, then you lose eligibility for any tax deductions for the cost of your insurance, and your tax bill shoots up. Republicans take your cash, because you agreed to buy a plan that might someday pay for someone else's abortion.
After all, fair's fair. Right?
Because if you're allowed to take a deduction for money you paid to a private insurer to cover routine check-ups for your kids, but the premiums you pay might one day cover the cost of a stranger's abortion, well... Republicans know that means that "governmen money" paid for that abortion. Because it was the government that gave you that money to pay your premiums with. If they had just kept it instead of allowing you to deduct it, well, maybe it never would have been paid to that private insurance company in the first place. So it wouldn't have been there to pay for that other person's claim.
Yes, it's the government's prerogative to favor or disfavor certain activities using the tax code. But of course, just last month, the Supreme Court's conservative wing went out of its way to preserve state tax breaks for donations made to funds that underwrite religious school tuition in Arizona by holding that tax credits aren't "government spending." And yet now, here are Congressional "conservatives" insisting that they are. And that since money is fungible, that means every dollar you have might be in your wallet only by virtue of a tax credit. Which means the government can keep every dollar you have on a string, telling you you can't spend it on things they don't like, or else they'll raise your taxes for making them mad.
In my opinion, that's the outrage of H.R. 3.