Yesterday the House and Senate were supposed to finish work on their respective budgets, laying the groundwork for the budget debate over the final two weeks. Things do not, however, always go as planned in Richmond.
While the Senate postponed its budget vote until next week (waiting on Governor Kaine’s latest revenue conjecture, which didn’t sit well with the House because now it is out on a limb), the House proceeded and passed several pro-life amendments that protect taxpayers from subsidizing unethical and failed research, elective abortions and a wealthy, partisan organization. In addition, the House included a language amendment that raises the safety standards at Virginia’s abortion centers. A description of each:
One of the adopted amendments, introduced by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William), defunds Planned Parenthood. It passed 61-28. During this decade, Virginia taxpayers have unknowingly sent nearly $500,000 to this overtly partisan and pro-abortion organization. Its national annual budget is more than $1 billion. If the governor cut funding for abstinence education, ostensibly for cost savings, then we should not ask Virginians to send their hard earned money to this group.
Another amendment, also submitted by Delegate Marshall, prohibits the use of taxpayer funding of abortions. Incredibly, in 2006 and 2007, Virginia tax dollars funded 322 abortions (160 in fiscal-year 2007 and 162 in fiscal 2006). The federal government subsidizes abortions only when a Medicaid-eligible woman’s life is at risk or in the cases of rape and incest. Virginia, however, goes above and beyond those requirements. This extra funding should stop now.
A separate amendment, submitted by Delegate (and Majority Whip) Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights), prevents the funding of failed research that requires the destruction of human embryos. It passed 79-21. As many in the scientific community abandon embryonic stem cell research for the successful adult stem cell research, some in Virginia continue to advocate for taxpayer funding of the utterly unsuccessful embryonic version that simply has not lived up to its advocates’ hype — producing not one major success. Meanwhile, adult stem cell research has produced dozens of cures and treatments (recently reversing the affects of some MS patients). Investment in adult stem cell research offers hope and promise, and that’s where Virginia’s money should go.
Also yesterday, the House voted 61-36 to add to the budget policy language that raises the safety standards of abortion centers. Similar legislation has passed the House several times in recent years, only to be killed in the Senate Education and Health Committee. Adding that language to the budget is a creative way to try to circumvent the “Committee of Death.”
The House was seemingly caught off guard by the Senate’s decision to postpone its budget vote, and continued work on its budget, passing it late in the afternoon yesterday. But the Senate adjourned without taking a vote on its budget and without, apparently, changing the midnight deadline for the vote.