Democrats block Planned Parenthood defunding; McConnell offers ‘clean bill’

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Democratic-led filibuster stalls stopgap funding measure in Senate.

Washington — Democrats and several Republicans banded together on Thursday to block legislation to keep the government open over a contentious, GOP-led effort to strip Planned Parenthood of its taxpayer funding. WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate’s top Republican moved swiftly to avoid a government shutdown in six days, pushing legislation that would keep agencies operating without a contentious fight over money for Planned Parenthood.House Republicans, in a letter sent last month to the chairman of the House Committee on Health Care, said they wanted to investigate “whether Oregon’s tax dollars sent to Planned Parenthood and the body parts [from abortions] transferred are being used for legal purposes.” In the 2013-15 budget cycle, the state gave Planned Parenthood about $3.6 million, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Office. Of that, $1 million was for “pregnancy termination services.” Here’s how it works: Women who get insurance through the Oregon Health Plan are covered for a variety of medical procedures.

But he’s widely expected to begin debate on a bipartisan stopgap spending bill free of the Planned Parenthood dispute that would pass with Democratic support next week and be signed into law by President Barack Obama. “I think we all know we’re going to have a clean” continuing resolution, said Sen. But they don’t cover abortions, leaving the state to pick up the tab. “It’s important for people to understand that Planned Parenthood is providing important medical care that people want, need, deserve,” said Mary Nolan, interim executive director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. “It’s care we’re happy to provide.” “We do not sell any fetal tissue,” she continued. “Our patients sometimes choose to donate the fetal tissue that results from their pregnancy, but neither our patients nor Planned Parenthood sells it.” Planned Parenthood has one partnership — with Oregon Health & Science University — to which it gives first-trimester placental issue for two scientific research projects related to still births and pregnancy complications.

And on Thursday, the White House issued a statement that Obama would veto it anyway, arguing that it “would limit access to healthcare for women, men and families across the nation, and disproportionately impact low-income individuals”. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has only shaky control over his fractious caucus, and tea party Republicans adamant about using the must-pass measure to carry provisions to defund Planned Parenthood, even at the risk of a partial government shutdown. Senator Ted Cruz who is using his rivalry with GOP leaders in Washington to help define his presidential campaign, responded in an editorial essay in Politico that simply the threat of a shutdown was sending “Republican leadership running for the hills”. Sending such a measure to the House just a day or two before a potential shutdown seems aimed at giving Republican leaders in the House the push needed to roll over recalcitrant Tea Party members opposed to a bill that fails to take on Planned Parenthood.

Eleven GOP House freshmen – several facing difficult re-election races next year in Democratic-leaning districts – say they oppose a shutdown confrontation. A “Dear Colleague” letter by New York representative Elise Stefanik and Pennsylvania representative Ryan Costello promises to “avoid repeating the mistakes of the past”, a reference to the GOP-sparked 2013 shutdown over implementation of the healthcare law.

Other GOP freshmen from conservative districts, such as representatives Ken Buck of Colorado and Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, have signed on to a more confrontational strategy, along with prominent conservatives like representatives Jim Jordan and Mick Mulvaney. Conservative hard-liners including Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, were summoned to Boehner’s suite but would not comment on his plans.

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