The Hyde Amendment is in peril

But now, three factors mean that the Hyde amendment is in peril as never before.

First, the sitting Republican president’s response to the pandemic and the protests this summer has been so unpopular that Democrats are more likely than not to control the White House, the House, and the Senate in 2021.

Second, because of partisan polarization and Democrats’ purging of their own pro-life representatives, there are almost no supporters of the Hyde amendment left among congressional Democrats. In the Senate, Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania both officially support it, but Republicans Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine oppose it. Even if the Democrats control the Senate by only a razor-thin majority, there would likely be majorities in both chambers to repeal the Hyde amendment.

Third, it is unlikely that filibuster rules would allow a GOP Senate minority to save the Hyde amendment in 2021.

If Democrats win control of the Senate, they may simply invoke the so-called nuclear option and eliminate the 60-vote threshold for all legislation. An increasing number of prominent Democrats, from Obama to Bernie Sanders, are calling for the abolition of the filibuster. Biden himself is now open to scrapping it.