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Obama Bends on Contraceptives Funding in Stimulus

That's the word out of Washington -- that President Obama is backing down from the impending economic stimulus showdown over funding for this key democratic point:

House Democrats are likely to jettison family planning funds for the low-income from an $825 billion economic stimulus bill, officials said late Monday, following a personal appeal from President Barack Obama at a time the administration is courting Republican critics of the legislation.

Hillary Clinton wouldn't have backed down, and I made that point often early in the primary process, that Obama was a moderate who would give into the opposition rather than mow them down as Clinton would.

We big-D Democrats got what we wanted, but we progressives aren't the winners here.

Update: It's out.

From NBC's Mike Viqueira The provision within the stimulus that would allocate money for contraceptive programs through Medicaid will be pulled out of the package.

NBC News confirms that the president called Henry Waxman, the chairman of the committee that inserted the contraception provision into the stimulus during the mark up last week, to ask him to remove the measure from the bill, according to a Democratic leadership source.

In short, the idea has simply become too controversial. Speaker Nancy Pelosi's defense of the program over the weekend, where she indicated that it would be a money saver, was not well received.

So that provision is out.

Complicating matters, both Minority Leader John Boehner and No. 2 Eric Cantor have told House Republicans that "all Republicans should vote against the stimulus" if it remains "in its current form," according to a GOP leadership aide.

Is that going to be enough, or will Obama keep giving the Republicans more and more?

Remember that Obama didn't have to give an inch to get this bill passed - he's just doing the right's bidding.


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Comments (11)

ke_future:

whether or not you agree with "family planning funds", lee, what the hell does it have to do with economic stimulus? this is one thing i absolutely hate about the way bills are done in congress. loading them up with all kinds of unrelated crap.

Lee Ward:

"whether or not you agree with "family planning funds", lee, what the hell does it have to do with economic stimulus? "

Whether or not you agree with responding to al-Qaeda's attack on the WTC in New York, ke, what the hell does it have to do with invading Iraq?

Invading Iraq furthered the neocon agenda as put forth by the Project For A New American Century. We spent a trillion dollars furthering the neocon agenda with the war in Iraq, and now we have a president who wants to pour tea with the Republicans rather than getting the job done for progressives.

Kev:

Can't answer the question, can only spin it around and say Republicans are bad. Go figure. I guess my hopes that Lee's writing might evolve into something other than this were quite foolish. Ah well.

Lee Ward:

I answered the question, Kev - I just couldn't dumb it down to your level.

My best guess is that Obama is looking for a big bipartisan consensus on the economic stimulus bill, and funding for contraceptives for the poor will probably be added to some sort of health care funding bill.

However, if conservatives keep such funding for contraceptives out of a purely health care related bill and Obama caves, then there should be deep concern. But contraceptives funding should not be nearly as controversial as any abortion related issue.

I'm also concerned that John McCain has chosen to make himself a vocal critic of the economic stimulus bill. He clearly lost the election, and the American public chose the Obama path to economic recovery, so why is McCain still fighting the 2008 presidential campaign? At some point McCain and Palin need to concede that they lost the election. Al Gore and others who came up short in the elections certainly didn't make themselves a big pain after their elections. Even after his big 1980 loss, Jimmy Carter re-emerged in a constructive way building houses for low income persons or working for world peace or acting as an election monitor in foreign nations with disputed elections.

DaveD:

I think the term "House Democrats" is important here. It is not hard to find Republicans who have expressed support for many of Mr. Obama's appointments in his new administration. As far as the stimulus plan goes I also believe Mr. Obama did express an interest in including significant tax breaks for business - particularly small business - as well as no earmarks. Contraceptive funding has no bearing on economic recovery no matter how Pelosi spins it and it is an earmark. I believe the Republicans are simply holding Mr. Obama to his professed preferences. The Republicans might prove to be a problem for Mr. Obama but I wouldn't rule out that the congressional Democratic majority will also give him some uncomfortable moments. I mean we are talking Pelosi and Reid here.

Lee Ward:

Paul: "I'm also concerned that John McCain has chosen to make himself a vocal critic of the economic stimulus bill. He clearly lost the election, and the American public chose the Obama path to economic recovery, so why is McCain still fighting the 2008 presidential campaign?"

Obama made McCain a flag bearer for the Obama administration as a symbol of Obama's bipartisan approach and not "business as usual," signaling that he would seek counsel and support from McCain.

Obama, in effect, handed that power to McCain. McCain would be a fool to not employ it as a hammer for the Republican agenda.

Now Obama has to kowtow to McCain or he is no longer the centrist peace-maker he promised he would be.

dumb, dumb, dumb - and bad for the progressive movement.

Noreen:

If the funding had been for insurance companies or banks with benefits to those vampires, it would NOT have been questioned by republicans. On the subject of Obama folding, he has donned the velvet gloves at this point, but wait until he removes them. He knows how to remind the repubs how he won the election and if it is a battle they want, I think that they are underestimating him (or as repub Bush said Misunderestimating! Are we lucky to have gotten rid of that dunce).

ke_future:

actually, lee, you did not answer the question. you tried to make a spurious analogy that doesn't fit. in other words you tried to change the subject.

if you really think you answered my question, feel free to "dumb it down" for me.

joe:

We needed to invade iraq. Too bad we culdnt have just dropped nukes on them, and did it in a week. Then as soon as the nuke dust settles, we could have made it into a huge resort, with tennis coutrts, golf courses, horseracing, stock cars. And we get all the oil too. Its a win win situation. The people there win also. The ones that survive, can have jobs. They can save on light, because they glow in the dark. They song, you light up my life, can be played at weddings and bar mitzvahs.

Can anyone say PAINTBALL GAMES!!!!!

Lee Ward:

"actually, lee, you did not answer the question. you tried to make a spurious analogy that doesn't fit. in other words you tried to change the subject."

No, actually I made it quite clear that the Republicans promulgated the expenditure of a trillion dollars for a trumped up war against terror in Iraq, a war that had absolutely nothing to do with retribution against 9/11.

The "ruling party" back then pushed their agenda forward under false pretenses.

Any complaints now that the Democrats are doing the same is nothing more than bullshit, especially from mouthpieces who backed the Republicans in their neocon nation-building -in-our-image bullshit.

Perhaps that's the part that needed emphasis -- the "Why are you hypocrites complaining now" part?

You don't see the hypocrisy? Seriously? I had to spell it out for you? sheesh...


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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