In 2014, Rep. Richard Hanna stated that he was against abortion, as he voted as the sole Republican member of the House of Representatives against HR 7 – No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2014. The reason provided by Rep. Hanna at the time was that he felt the Bill went too far in restricting women’s access to abortion. He also admitted that his constituents disagreed with having Federal funds used to provide abortions. In 2015, after strong primary challenges in the mid-term elections, Rep. Hanna is having deja vue.
Once again, on January 22, 2015, Rep. Hanna has taken the road as the sole Republican to opposed the HR 42, Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 7) to prohibit taxpayer funded abortions, the 2015 version of the Bill presented in 2014. Out of 239 Republican and 3 Democrat votes in favor of the Bill, Rep Hanna joined 179 Democrats to against the Bill. His position was once again that the Bill, which would remove any Federal funding of abortion – which his constituents wanted in 2014 – was too restrictive. But that’s not the whole story.
The item that draws attention is in looking at the votes and discussion on the floor leading to the passage of HR 42. Prior to the final vote, as noted in the record, House Democrats tried to have a vote to recommit the Bill. Democrats sought to include language that would support the expanded view of abortion that they believe is a requirement for all women regardless of desire or religious belief and paid for by Federal taxpayer funds. A view the constituents of Rep. Hanna as a whole do not support. This led to a vote, that would do the following:
“Ms. MOORE. Madam Speaker, this is the final amendment to the bill, and it will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If this amendment is adopted, the bill, as amended, will immediately proceed to final passage.”
The vote, that could not stop the Bill nor send it to committee and thus delay the result, as recorded by the Clerk of the House was #44. That vote was rejected by Republicans, including a vote against by Rep. Richard Hanna. This seems to indicate one of 2 things:
- Rep. Hanna was voting with the will of his constituents against the Democrat proposal. It would appear to mean that Rep. Hanna felt the Bill properly reflected his constituents views and he felt the obligation to stand with his constituents. Yet that commitment to his voters was not so strong as to let him stand by his personal views, as well as theirs, in the final vote.
- Rep. Hanna took the opportunity, knowing that he would be voting against the Bill and needing to maintain his percentage of votes in favor with his Party (a factor that came into question during his 2014 primary run), and voted along Party lines.
Both options reflect poorly on Rep. Hanna, but seem to be accurate descriptions of the situation. Which would lead to the question, what has Rep. Hanna done in the past? How has Rep. Hanna voted on other abortion Bills? This should indicate where he stands overall.
This would bring us to the June 2013 vote on late-term abortion. HR 1797, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, sought to stop abortion of a child that had reached 5 months (equivalent to 20 weeks) in the womb – except in the case of endangering the life of the mother, incest, and/or rape. As Rep. Hanna would later state, the will of constituents fell against late-term abortions. Rep. Hanna himself was on record as being against abortion. Yet, Rep. Hanna was one of 6 Republicans that chose to join 190 Democrats in supporting late-term abortions beyond 5 months of pregnancy. The reason? Rep. Hanna felt the Bill was too restrictive for women, though he stated his opposition of late-term abortion at the same time.
Thus there appears to be a pattern. Rep. Hanna seemingly will say he believes what his political party believes in. He may indicate that he is on the side of his constituents (the NY 22nd Congressional District is strongly Republican). After all the talk, Rep. Hanna then votes exactly opposite everything he has said prior. Occasionally, Rep. Hanna will amend the pattern – voting for an Amendment and then reversing his vote on the actual Bill. This is consistent with other positions Rep. Hanna has taken, recently as well as in the past.
HR 240, on January 14, 2014, had the same pattern. Rep. Hanna voted with Republicans while at the same time voting against Republicans, on the issue of immigration and the power inherent in the use of Executive Orders. As we noted at the time,
“Effectively, Rep. Hanna has taken both sides of the issue. He has voted to protect the Constitution, while advocating (through his vote against the Blackburn Amendment) the violation of the Constitution. His words, and his actions, are at odds. The logic behind his justification is flawed.”
Perhaps this is not deja vue for Rep. Hanna. This could be an active and directed political plan. If so, the purpose being in maintaining his political position, as in the 2014 mid-term elections Democrats saw fit to let Rep. Hanna run unopposed. Even if this is not the case, Rep. Hanna is clearly experiencing a kind of political schizophrenia, unable to distinguish (or allow others to determine) what he actually believes and where he truly stands. Obviously, since Rep. Hanna is in his 3rd term in Congress, it also is an effected re-election tool.
** Note – As full disclosure, Michael “Vass” Vasquez, president of M V Consulting, Inc. was a candidate for the NY 22 Congressional District in 2014 and ran against Rep. Hanna for the Republican ticket. **