Rep. Issa Sabotages His Own Good Idea

November 15, 2011 10:00 am ET — Kate Conway

In case the debt ceiling negotiations, various government shutdown scares, and the fight over job-creation efforts weren't proof enough that Republicans are out to stymie just about any sort of meaningful legislative progress through political games, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has put forth a revealing proposal:

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has drafted a bill that would give the District more freedom to spend its own money — with a catch.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has included in his measure a provision that would prohibit D.C. from spending its own taxpayer funds to pay for abortions for low-income women except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, according to a draft of the bill obtained by The Washington Post.

The District has long been a largely symbolic political pawn in the abortion rights battle, with frustrated reproductive rights opponents in Congress determined to meddle with the lives of women in the one place they have the power to interfere.

But the bigger picture here is the GOP's approach to governance, which is either intentional self-created obstructionism or an absurdly pronounced naiveté about current political realities. The overt purpose of Issa's bill is to remove red tape that ties up D.C.'s budget, and there's no reason to tie that to the ideological and highly partisan objective of reducing low-income women's access to abortion. But instead of pursuing what could be a bipartisan success, Issa has sent the bill towards likely failure.