A Senate panel approved a spending bill for the District on Tuesday that does not include a ban on city-funded abortions, setting up another fight on the subject with the Republican-controlled House.
The Appropriations subcommittee passed a Democratic-authored measure providing $676 million in federal funds for the District — $10 million more than the House bill — for the operations of the D.C. court system, education and a handful of other items.
While the House bill includes a prohibition against the District using its own taxpayer funds to pay for abortions for low-income women, the Senate bill includes only a long-standing ban on using federal money for that purpose. The city-funded abortion ban has caused friction between Congress and local leaders, with District Mayor Vincent C. Gray and several D.C. Council members being arrested last year at a protest after President Obama agreed to the prohibition as part of a spending deal.
The Senate spending bill also includes $13.5 million for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, a private-school voucher plan backed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The House bill includes $20 million for that program.
And the Senate measure includes $15 million for the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority’s Clean Rivers Project to restore the Anacostia River, drawing praise from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) “for these urgently needed funds.” The House bill does not fund the program.