House GOP ditches anti-abortion rider in new funding bill

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House Republicans noticeably forgo language limiting access to the abortion pill mifepristone in their newly unveiled agricultural funding bill, after a similar effort last year helped doom their 2024 plan while exposing intraparty divides on the issue.

The powerful GOP-led House Appropriations Committee unveiled the legislation on Monday afternoon, as leaders pursue an aggressive schedule to pass all 12 of the party’s annual funding bills before Congress’ August recess.

But notably missing from the text is a provision Republicans previously sought as part of their fiscal 2024 agricultural funding plan that aimed to nullify a Biden administration rule allowing mifepristone to be sold in retail pharmacies and dispensed by mail.

Its absence comes after GOP leaders struggled to pass the previous bill amid opposition from moderates, and as abortion is still top of mind for some voters months out from the critical November elections. 

The bill, which funds the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), calls for more than $25 billion in total discretionary funding for fiscal 2025, which is below current levels.

In a statement on Monday, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), chair of the subcommittee that crafted the plan, touted the newly unveiled plan as one that “supports our rural communities, strengthens our food supply, continues critical investments in agriculture research and rural broadband, and the FDA to assure the safety of drugs and devices.”

“This year, the Agriculture Appropriations bill also focuses on elevating the nutrition needs of SNAP participants by giving states a chance to participate in a pilot program that restricts unhealthy food,” he also said. 

Among the takeaways Republicans are also highlighting in the 126-page plan includes a measure they say would allow “states to voluntarily participate in a pilot program to restrict unhealthy food purchases with SNAP benefits,” a summary states.

However, that measure and others have already been met with opposition from Democrats who say the bill would threaten access to food for vulnerable Americans, among more charges.

“This bill makes it more difficult for hardworking people to buy homes in rural areas and cuts water and waste grants that help households and businesses access clean drinking water,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement. 

“At a time when families around the world are struggling to feed their children, this bill would cut Food for Peace to the lowest level since 2002 and implement the misguided ‘SNAP Choice’ pilot program.”

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