About that Much-Maligned Birth Control Provision In the Stimulus...

| Thu Jan. 29, 2009 9:17 AM EST

You know, the one that the White House had removed from the bill after everyone on the Right mocked it for funding condoms instead of economic recovery. (Democrats should have just left it in; taking it out enticed exactly zero House Republicans to vote for the bill.) Turns out, it would have saved the states $200 million that they could budget for other things. Here's the New York Times:

The White House encouraged other gestures as well. As the House version of the legislation came to the floor on Tuesday, Democrats stripped from it a provision that Republicans had ridiculed as having nothing to do with economic stimulus, one expanding federal Medicaid coverage of family planning services. (The Congressional Budget Office had estimated that the provision would actually save the government $200 million over five years by reducing pregnancy and postnatal-care expenses.)

But hey, Drudge put up a big headline making fun of it and the Republicans are really, really good at choosing one provision of a massive bill and using it to play PR games. So don't try to defend it. Just back down. Much less trouble that way.

Update: All sarcasm aside, Katha Pollitt has some very wise things to say on this subject.