Pelosi May Make Abortion Litmus Test for Key Chairmanship

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could use her influence to prevent Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) from gaining the top position on the Appropriations Committee due to Kaptur's opposition to government funding for abortion services.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) are both challenging Kaptur for the post, which is one of the most powerful in the House, The Hill reports.

Kaptur was next in line for the post, but she has made several moves to upset some of her colleagues, including Pelosi, in recent years. Kaptur was one of the leading Democrats, along with Bart Stupak (Mich.), to hold up the Affordable Care Act (2010), sometimes called "Obamacare," until changes were made that were intended to prevent public funding of abortion. Kaptur is pro-choice but opposes government funding of abortion.

Under House rules, all government funding decisions must first be passed by the Appropriations Committee before going to the Rules Committee and the House floor. That committee has, therefore, powerful influence on the issue of government funding for abortion, or government funding for abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood.

National Right to Life Committee gives Kaptur a score of 14 percent, meaning she voted in favor of pro-life legislation 14 percent of the time in the current Congress, while Lowey and Moran each have zero percent.

Kaptur also joined some her colleagues in 2010 who elected to wait until after the November elections to decide if Pelosi would keep her position as the House Democrat's top leader.

Committee chairmanships are typically assigned by seniority, but there are some exceptions. The Democratic caucus will select the committee chairs, but Pelosi's influence could determine the outcome. There is no word yet on whether Pelosi will seek to punish Kaptur for her lack of party loyalty.

Kaptur recently won her primary election against Dennis Kucinich. The two House Democrats were matched against each other after their districts were combined due to redistricting.

In the general election, she will face off against Republican Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as "Joe the Plumber" after his videotaped encounter with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama went viral.

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