So much for House Republicans' core campaign promise.
Over and over last fall, they vowed to fix the economy and create jobs, telling voters they would do better than President Barack Obama and the Democrats.
So what are they spending way too much of their limited time on this week? In hearings and press conferences, they are pushing proposals to restrict abortion, under the guise of cutting federal spending.
While it may appeal to a narrow slice of their constituency, it is not what the vast majority of Americans want from Congress. In a Gallup poll conducted as the new Congress began, less than 0.5 percent named abortion as the "most important problem facing this country today"; 68 percent said economic problems, and 29 percent specified unemployment.
Most Americans have come to terms with abortion – it should be as rare as possible, but it should also be legal and available when a woman's health is in danger and in cases of rape or incest.
The major bill, H.R. 3, would prohibit the use of federal money to buy any health insurance that covers abortion, even if those services are paid with private money. It would also ban the use of flexible spending or health savings accounts to pay for abortion coverage, and ban employers and the self-insured from using tax breaks to buy private health insurance that covers abortion.
The bill would also make permanent the existing ban on abortion funding in Medicaid and other federal programs. Abortion rights groups are particularly alarmed by a provision – that will apparently be removed – that seems to change the existing exception in cases of rape by allowing abortions only for "forcible" rape. They say that could exclude date rape or statutory rape, for instance.
A second bill would allow hospitals that object to abortion – those run by the Catholic Church, for instance – to not perform them even in emergencies when a woman's life is at stake.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.sacbee.com.