Government Shutdown Averted as Congress Passes Spending Bill | us news

Government Shutdown Averted as Congress Passes Spending Bill

1 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A Warning To Both Parties On Planned Parenthood And Abortion.

SALEM — House Republicans continued to stoke the controversy over Planned Parenthood, submitting written questions to the group on its practices for transferring fetal tissue. Congress forestalled a federal government shutdown Wednesday, but with another fiscal deadline looming, Republican leaders are opening negotiations with President Obama to prevent the next crisis.

Washington: The Senate on Wednesday passed a short-term spending bill that would avert a government shutdown and fund federal agencies through mid-December.WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards says she respects the religious beliefs of Americans who oppose abortion, but is glad that her organization can help women who want to terminate their pregnancies.

In an environment where short-term thinking increasingly trumps long-term strategy, the Republican congressional campaign to defund Planned Parenthood may be setting a new standard for political myopia. The letter — sent Tuesday to two Oregon Planned Parenthood leaders and two top officials at Oregon Health & Science University — asks for detailed information on who’s responsible for processing fetal tissue, how it’s done and how much Planned Parenthood is paid for each specimen. “Taxpayer-funded organizations, like Planned Parenthood, should feel an obligation and a responsibility to provide public testimony about their operations to the Legislature,” Rep. Hours before a midnight deadline, the House overwhelmingly approved legislation to fund government offices and services for the next few months through Dec. 11 – without any of the cuts to Planned Parenthood that conservatives sought. Republicans in Congress are making a renewed push to defund the group — which provides health screenings, contraception and performs abortions — after controversial sting videos were released earlier this summer alleging it sells fetal tissue for profit. “If it’s about women’s health, then why isn’t the liberal Democrat Party willing to say that pregnancy centers such as this should also be funded by taxpayers?” Carly Fiorina asked at the Carolina Pregnancy Center, an anti-abortion crisis-pregnancy center. “Why shouldn’t taxpayers be paying for pregnancy centers in communities all across this nation, to give women an opportunity to understand their choices?” Debates over abortion reliably fire up both the Republican and Democratic bases, but both parties risk overplaying the issue in the 2016 campaign.

The House is expected to clear the bill later on Wednesday just hours before the government would run out of funding when the new fiscal year begins on Thursday. At a congressional hearing on taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, North Carolina Congressman Mark Walker said that as a former pastor, he had counseled women who regret their abortions as long as 25 years later. All but one of the remaining Republican presidential candidates have endorsed the initiative, which may have crested with Tuesday’s inquisition of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Legislators there must act before midnight, when the government loses its legal authority to spend money and would consequently have to suspend services for some federal agencies. That approach, favored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker John Boehner, has angered tea party lawmakers who wanted to use the must-pass measure to punish Planned Parenthood for its practices involving the supply of tissue from aborted fetuses for scientific research.

The strong bipartisan vote, 277-151, matched a similar compromise in the Senate, which passed the bill earlier Wednesday with wide support, 78-20 as more than half the Republican senators joined Democrats. Oklahoma Republican Steve Walker, referring to the donation of fetal tissue from abortions, said: “We can carve up a child and call it a choice.” But he added, “We cannot escape our accountability before the creator of life.” Most Democrats have rallied behind Planned Parenthood, and President Barack Obama has threatened to veto GOP legislation cutting its federal money. Tea party anger directed at Boehner over the Planned Parenthood issue helped prod the Ohio Republican last week to announce he will resign at the end of October.

Planned Parenthood in Oregon says gives donated placental tissue to the university for two scientific studies related to still births and pregnancy complications. “We are aware of the letter and are preparing a response,” Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon Executive Director Mary Nolan said in a statement. “Most Oregonians and most Americans already know that Planned Parenthood medical providers and health center staff are among the best in the country, and we adhere to the highest professional standards.” The group provides contraception, sexual disease testing and cancer screenings, as well as abortions, to 2.7 million patients annually in clinics from coast to coast. His decision — and other House leadership races — have highlighted divisions between more pragmatic Republicans and a tea party wing that is increasingly dominant, especially in the rough-and-tumble House. In a wide-ranging press conference en route to Rome from his first-ever visit to the United States, Francis was asked about the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk jailed for several days after she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples despite the Supreme Court’s ruling making same-sex marriage legal nationwide. GOP lawmakers and presidential hopefuls are accurately reflecting the anti-PP sentiment of Republican primary voters, who tend to be more religious and hostile to reproductive choice than the GOP’s general election habitués.

The House was slated to approve the measure Wednesday afternoon, but GOP leaders need Democratic votes to balance out opposition from tea party supporters of “defunding” Planned Parenthood. Unless you believe Tuesday’s show trial was a game changer – and there’s no evidence Planned Parenthood’s critics scored any body blows in their highly publicized show trial — the defunding campaign is likely to prove a long-term liability for the short-sighted Republicans who embraced it. At issue are efforts to increase the operating budgets for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies still operating under automatic curbs that would effectively freeze their spending at current levels. He said, “If a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.” During his U.S. visit, the pope visited with the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who have challenged the Obama administration’s health care insurance mandate.

The vote tally Wednesday showed that most Senate Republicans had no interest in a repeat of the politically damaging 2013 shutdown, which came after Sen. DOLAN SPRINGS, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities say fires that heavily damaged or destroyed two churches across the street from one another in northwestern Arizona were intentionally set. Many of the conservative GOP lawmakers who helped bring Boehner down want to preserve stringent “caps” on the spending bills Congress passes every year. Brenda Lawrence was forced, yet again, to state the obvious: It’s exhausting to keep hearing about federal dollars being spent on abortions when repeatedly the facts state, and it’s not a controversy, read the facts, do your research, before you ask these exhausting, sometimes insulting questions.

It’s also unchanged since July, when the first sting video targeting Planned Parenthood was released. “People are seeing it sort of as a political attempt,” she said. “It’s a political stunt. That means negotiators will have to decide both on a top-line spending level that Republicans can accept and the offsetting cuts or other offsets that won’t cause Democrats to balk. Mohave County sheriff’s detectives are investigating the arson fires that were set Saturday at Mount Tipton Community Church and Dolan Springs Baptist Church.

Boehner’s announced resignation frees him from the risk of ouster by his conservative flank and the speaker has indicated he wants to “clean up the barn” before he steps down. “The president and Speaker Boehner and I spoke about getting started in the discussions last week, and I would expect them to start very soon,” McConnell said. “There’s a number of issues we’re going to try to deal with over the coming month,” Boehner said this week. “I’m going to take this one day at a time and do what we can on behalf of the American people.” The common goal of the White House and Congress is to undo the so-called sequester cuts that they agreed to in 2011, when Boehner first became speaker with the House majority. The Kingman Daily Miner reports that Zeller was waiting to learn if any part of the church was salvageable and if the congregation will be allowed back into the building. Many lawmakers in both parties have since sided with the Pentagon or domestic agency heads who say those reductions are too deep, and could damage the economy.

A panel that oversees artwork at the statehouse voted 7-1 on Tuesday to authorize the privately funded monument’s removal after the state’s highest court ruled that it violates the Oklahoma Constitution. Perhaps the most revealing moment of the hearing came at the beginning, when Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, offered a tearful soliloquy about cancer and the death of his parents. But the budget talks could spill into broader negotiations on other outstanding issues that have vexed Congress and could lead to crises later this year.

Republicans say the videos, made by abortion foes posing as private purchasers, show Planned Parenthood has broken federal laws including a ban on for-profit fetal tissue sales. Among them are the need to raise the debt ceiling next month to allow continued borrowing to pay the bills and avoid a default and the expiration of transportation funds for highway projects Oct. 31. But since it was erected in 2012, several other groups have asked to have their own monuments installed, including the Church of Satan and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Instead, Chaffetz invoked cancer so that he could lament how lopsided our spending priorities are: Cancer in this country kills about 1,500 people a day – and yet our federal government only spends $5 billion to fight it…We don’t spend enough on cancer…The question before us is does this organization, does Planned Parenthood really need federal subsidy? After an earlier procedural vote, which passed by an overwhelming 77-19, Cruz attempted to make a statement and get a courtesy roll-call vote, but other GOPers reportedly shouted “no” and the move was overruled by Republican leadership.

Does it need federal dollars…Every time we spend a federal dollar, what we’re doing is we’re pulling money out of somebody’s pocket and we’re giving it to someone else. One lawmaker called a closed-door meeting this week “a good therapy session” as Republican lawmakers aired their concerns on the party’s direction in Congress.

The title echoes what Jesus told his apostles: “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also.” The book surveys Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, showing how each book of the Bible presents people with choices that will ultimately lead them to heaven or hell. Assuming the legislation passes in the House, the next budget showdown will take place in mid-December and will be a major test for the new House speaker. Even though federal funds cannot be used for abortion except in extreme circumstances, including rape and abuse, conservatives want to send the organization’s funds to other clinics.

The House passed a new measure Wednesday to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s funding as an addendum to the broader government funding bill, but it is not expected to pass the Senate. A separate effort is underway to pass similar funding restrictions under special budget rules that could result in passage that would force Obama’s threatened veto.

Democrat Mark Udall’s campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee seemed to have a singular focus – women’s reproductive rights. “Because this really matters, it’s important you hear this directly from me. Instead, they take their moral stand not on poverty or inequality or torture or unjust wars but on funding vital health care for women, particularly poor women. We’re talking about your rights – as women, as families, as Coloradans.” In another, Udall says, “No one can blame you for checking a calendar to remind yourself, ‘Yep, it really is 2014. For most of us, those debates got settled by the last generation.” Yes, it was a midterm – with the lowest turnout in 70 years and key Democratic voting groups did not turn out. As Amanda Marcotte noted, the bizarre (and woefully uninformed) focus on mammograms yesterday was telling in this respect: This obsession with mammograms belies the real agenda here, which has nothing to do with ‘fetal body parts’ or even abortion, but with delegitimizing health care that exists so that people, particularly women, can have healthy and safe sex lives.

The implication was clear: Mammograms are real health care, and all those other services—contraception, STI testing and treatment, Pap smears—are not. Outside conservative echo chambers, there’s a country full of people – especially women – who object to everything they saw and heard yesterday, who acknowledge the law, and who, above all, respect the right of women to control their own bodies.

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