Congress passes FY24 government funding legislation • Biblical Recorder

Congress passes FY24 government funding legislation • Biblical Recorder
Baptist Press file photograph.
U.S. Capitol.

Practically six months immediately after the commencing of fiscal year 2024, the U.S. Congress has at last entirely funded the federal government through Sept. 30. Pursuing 4 continuing resolutions (CRs), Congress passed two minibus deals that involved all twelve federal appropriations charges that fund the many pieces of the governing administration. 

The first minibus, handed on March 8, incorporated:

  • the Agriculture-FDA 
  • Commerce-Justice- Science
  • Vitality-Water 
  • Interior-Environment 
  • Navy Design-Veterans Affairs 
  • and Transportation-Housing-Urban Progress costs. 

The next minibus, handed on March 22, bundled the additional controversial:

  • Protection
  • Money Expert services-Common Government
  • Homeland Safety
  • Labor-Wellness and Human Products and services-Education and learning
  • Legislative Department
  • and Condition-Foreign Operations costs. 

Nevertheless the minibus offers advanced with substantial majorities, equally deals garnered sizeable pushback from a lot of customers of Congress.

Every single year, the ERLC communicates its worries and priorities, notably connected to existence and spiritual liberty, in appropriations with lawmakers. Although we were being pleased to see some of our previously voiced concerns solved in the remaining bundle, the realities of a divided Congress prevented a lot of of our priorities and problems from currently being tackled.

What was incorporated in the bill?

Most significantly, the final expending package as soon as once again integrated the prolonged-standing Hyde-family of riders. Just after numerous decades of Democratic-led opposition to these riders, their ongoing presence is major. This includes:

  • The Hyde amendment, which helps prevent Medicaid from masking the price of abortion and guarding the consciences of American taxpayers. It saves an approximated 60,000 preborn lives each individual calendar year.
  • The Weldon modification, which safeguards the legal rights of conscience for health care experts and institutions by stopping HHS from denying funding to recipients that refuse to supply, fork out for, or refer for abortion.
  • The Helms amendment, which stops overseas help from right spending for an abortion.
  • The Smith amendment, which bans funding for elective abortion by the Federal Staff Well being Positive aspects program.
  • The Dornan amendment, which prohibits federal and congressionally authorised neighborhood money from shelling out for elective abortions in the District of Columbia.

Regrettably, alongside these riders, the remaining packages also incorporated: 

  • major funding for domestic loved ones organizing programs, 
  • veteran gender particular care packages, 
  • and comparable global resources like the United Nations Population Fund which funnel dollars into pro-abortion companies. 

Even though these riders hold dollars from funding the precise abortion method, these organizations can use federal government funding to include all other operational expenses. Though we would like to see no funding go towards the predatory abortion business, it is noteworthy that the final funding ranges were being lessen than originally proposed. Enacted FY23 levels have been generally preserved.

Two little but significant victories for global spiritual flexibility include: 

  • A funding increase for the United States Commission on Global Spiritual Independence (USCIRF). USCIRF plays a vital job in spotlighting and advocating for intercontinental spiritual liberty all around the entire world. While it was not fully funded at the requested quantity, it did garner a considerable enhance in funding over FY23 ranges. 
  • The inclusion of the longstanding, bipartisan Lautenberg Modification. For a long time, this rider has granted a distinctive pathway to all those fleeing religious persecution in former Soviet Union countries and Iran, which include a lot of evangelical Christians. Despite this historical past, the rider was to begin with excluded from the Household Condition-Foreign Functions bill. The ERLC was inspired to see this important language reinstated in the closing package right after a lot advocacy.

What was excluded from the bill?

The beforehand-launched, Republican-led appropriations costs in the Residence of Reps integrated many new provisions that would have pushed forward the result in of everyday living and supplied new protections for religious liberty and conscience rights. Sad to say, practically all of these poison-pill-deemed riders had been stripped from the closing offer.

Quite a few of the House-led charges provided new riders that would have prolonged the Hyde protections that prohibit the use of govt funding for abortion strategies to abortion-related travel. In the wake of the Dobbs final decision, the Biden administration has taken a amount of steps to circumvent Hyde limitations on federal government funding. These riders would have offered critical new protections to cease the Biden administrations misuse of federal cash for the evil of abortion.

Equally, lots of of the Household-handed bills integrated new riders that would have mirrored Hyde-like protections to prohibit the use of govt funding for gender transition strategies. The Biden administration has utilized every single software out there to expand the availability and accessibility of these hazardous strategies. These riders would have presented significant safeguards in opposition to the use of federal money for these finishes.

The ERLC will carry on to advocate for these challenges to be addressed through standalone legislation or in forthcoming appropriations cycles.

What comes about next?

Due to the late passage of these expenditures, the fiscal yr 2025 appropriations cycle is presently underway. President Biden has already submitted his symbolic spending plan ask for to Congress, and various cabinet secretaries are showing up in advance of Congress to existing their funds requests. 

As a country, our values and priorities are most obviously shown via the allocation of our methods. It is our motivation for those people methods to be utilised in a way that promotes life, religious liberty, and the flourishing of all our neighbors. As this system moves ahead, the ERLC will carry on to review these proposed payments and advocate for the inclusion of provisions that uphold these core principles.

(EDITORS Be aware – Hannah Daniel serves as a Policy Associate in the ERLCs Washington, D.C. place of work.)