The White House Spokesman comments on Catholic bishops.
"Shut up!", he explained.
This is from CNA:
White House spokesman: Catholic bishops fail to understand law on federal funding of abortion
Washington D.C., Oct 12, 2009 / 07:03 pm (CNA).- Twice last week White House spokesman Robert Gibbs stated that federally funded abortions will not be included in the government’s health care reform due to the Hyde Amendment, a statement which is in direct opposition to two recent letters sent to Congress by the U.S. Catholic bishops. [Interesting. The bishops issue a challenge and the WH responds. Could the US Catholic bishops challenge other things too?]
CNA reported that last Wednesday, Gibbs claimed that the Hyde Amendment will also apply to health care reform legislation. The Hyde Amendment, named after the late pro-life advocate Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), prevents federal funds that are appropriated through the annual Health and Human Services appropriation bill from paying for abortions. [So… the Hyde Amendment concerns appropriations for Health and Human Services. But does it apply to the new legislation being proposed?]
Gibbs’ first assertion that abortions will not be paid for with taxpayer funds in the new health care reform bill came last Wednesday at press briefing at the White House. The White House spokesman had said at the time, “there’s a fairly well documented federal law that prevents it.” [A little condescending maybe?]
Responding to the press secretary’s claim, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) said that “the proposed health insurance reform contains a nationwide government-run insurance program and premium subsidy programs to help tens of millions of Americans purchase health coverage. [Here is the point…] None of the funds for the public plan and spent by the premium subsidy programs would be appropriated through the annual appropriations bill and would therefore be outside the scope of the Hyde Amendment.
The NRLC said this analysis has been confirmed by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. [If these groups are correct, it seems either that the White House is LYING or that the WH Spokesman is incompetent. It is possible that both are the case, but there must be some explanation for this discrepancy.]
Then, [and this is interesting…] on Thursday the U.S. bishops sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to “exclude mandated coverage for abortion,” and include “policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights.”
The bishops noted that they “remain apprehensive when amendments protecting freedom of conscience and ensuring no taxpayer money for abortion are defeated in committee votes. If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found, we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously,” they insisted. [I wonder what that opposition would look like? Something the bishops reading this site should keep in mind is that the Catholic blogosphere would support them. Some bloggers would go to the wall to help bishops in good causes.]
The following day, Gibbs contradicted the bishop’s letter at a White House press briefing. [I’m shocked! Shocked to find prevarication going on in the Press Office!]
CNSNews.com addressed Gibbs saying, “You said on Wednesday that the Hyde amendment would prevent abortion funding through the health bill. The Catholic bishops have repeatedly said that the Hyde amendment would not apply to the health care bill and yesterday in the letter that they sent to Congress they said that if language expressly prohibiting abortion funding is not added to the health care bill, they will vigorously–‘vigorously oppose’–that’s a quote–the bill. My question on that, does the President support the bishops on this? And to eliminate this as an issue, will he call on Congress to have an explicit prohibition of abortion funding?”
[Get this…in ] Gibbs answered that his answer is the same as it was on Wednesday. “There may be a legal interpretation that has been lost here, […in other words, "they’re dumb"…] but there’s a fairly clear federal law prohibiting the federal use of money for abortion. I think it is–again, it’s exceedingly clear in the law.” […in other words, "they’re dumb"…]
Lucas then followed up his question, asking, “But the Hyde amendment is only for direct appropriations for HHS, and that’s…”
Gibbs replied quickly, “Again, I think that law is exceedingly clear.” [… in other words, "we here at the White House think any one who brings up distinctions is dumb….]
To repeat, the bishops reading this site should keep in mind that the Catholic blogosphere would support them. Bloggers would go to the wall to help bishops in good causes.