House GOP May Opt Against Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

House GOP may opt against shutdown over Planned Parenthood.

House GOP leaders have summoned their divided conference for a make-or-break discussion on how to fight taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood without having the battle lead to a government shutdown next week. TO UNDERSTAND why some people are incapable of learning from their mistakes, neuroscientists in Albuquerque, New Mexico, scanned the brains of 96 convicts.

The University of Missouri Health Care system will discontinue a type of clinical privilege that allowed a Planned Parenthood doctor to perform medication abortions at a Columbia, Mo., clinic. “This is a continuation of the orchestrated attempt to restrict access to safe, legal abortion in Missouri and to the critical services Planned Parenthood has provided for nearly 100 years,” Laura McQuade, CEO of the Planned Parenthood affiliate for mid-Missouri and Kansas, said in a news release. The action of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., followed a decisive Senate vote blocking a bill that would have stripped Planned Parenthood of its taxpayer funding while keeping the government running through Dec. 11. Anti-abortion lawmakers in the House have threatened to withhold their support for any bill that provides funding for the embattled women’s health group.

Under state statute, a doctor can perform or induce an abortion only if the doctor has clinical privileges at a hospital, which offers obstetrical or gynecological care located within 30 miles of the location where the abortion is being performed. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and his leadership team have for some time been urging lawmakers to consider alternatives to using a must-pass government-wide funding bill as a means to carry the battle against Planned Parenthood to President Barack Obama.

It would be interesting to carry out the experiment on the 40-odd Republican congressmen, members of the self-styled Freedom Caucus, who are aching for a fight with Barack Obama over the budget. Planned Parenthood wouldn’t comment on whether the university’s decision meant the Columbia clinic will end abortions in December or if the organization could take other actions to keep the medical procedure available. They’ve met resistance from tea party Republicans and outside groups that advocated for the 2013 partial government shutdown over implementation of Obama’s health care law. If they have their way, past fights suggest, the result will be a funding crisis leading, from October 1st, to the closure of all non-essential government departments, misery for millions, damage to the economy and a further loss of trust in America’s democratic institutions, starting with the congressmen’s own party. The opportunity for recidivism arises because the House of Representatives has failed to pass a federal budget for the financial year beginning next month, as it often does.

And there is no prospect of bundling the missing bills together; Republicans want to raise defence and cut welfare spending, Democrats want to increase both, and there is no time to reach a compromise. Leaders also plan to vote on more anti-abortion measures in the weeks ahead, including a bill to allow states to exclude abortion providers from receiving Medicaid funds. Planned Parenthood also points out that its government funding pays for cancer screenings, syphilis treatment and other non-controversial services; the abortions are funded separately. And on Thursday, the White House issued a statement that Obama would veto it in any event, arguing that it “would limit access to health care for women, men, and families across the nation, and disproportionately impact low-income individuals.” The Senate’s vote, and the bipartisan measure that followed, cranks up the pressure on the GOP-controlled House.

A separate investigation was launched when Planned Parenthood in Columbia said it was resuming abortion procedures. “I’m very pleasantly surprised that the university has decided to sever ties with an abortion doctor,” he said. The Freedom Caucus demands that John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House, insert a caveat to that effect into the anticipated continuing resolution. “This is not about women’s health,” says Mick Mulvaney, a Republican congressman from South Carolina. “It’s about trafficking in pieces of dead children.” His outrage is sincere; yet what he and his fellows are demanding of Mr Boehner is so reckless and unrealistic, and so consistent with their record of attempting wild, hapless heists against both Mr Obama and the Republican leadership, that these protestations are nonetheless unimpressive. GOP leaders like Boehner have counseled privately that it’s a doomed strategy and want to avoid a repeat of the 2013 closure, which hurt the party politically. “I’d rather it defund Planned Parenthood, but if the votes aren’t there, I don’t see the point of having a standoff,” said Sen. Barack Obama – John Boehner – Diane Black – Mick Mulvaney – Mitch McConnell – Kelly Ayotte – Susan Collins – Dean Heller – Mark Kirk – Lisa Murkowski – Rand Paul – Ben Sasse – Joe Manchin – Ted Cruz – U.S.

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. A GOP leadership aide, requiring anonymity to speak because of ongoing private discussions, said GOP leaders were considering immediately crafting a separate filibuster-proof budget measure. It would permit Republicans to deliver to Obama a measure to take away almost $500 million a year in taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, most of which goes to provide health services to the poor via the Medicaid program. The ensuing shutdown lasted three weeks, cost an estimated $24 billion in lost output and most Americans blamed the Republicans; during the crisis they had the worst ratings of either party for over two decades. Even a shutdown would not much inconvenience Planned Parenthood, which gets most of its government cash through agencies such as Medicaid, that would not be affected.

They consider conflict with Mr Obama their mission, conflict with their party bosses a secondary duty, and shutting down the government to be possibly no bad thing, given its potential to slim the state. In the bitterly polarised districts they represent—in a country where four-fifths of congressional districts offer no real prospect of a contest between the parties—voters are similarly convinced of these things, which is why there is in fact a deal of self-interest in the Freedom Caucus’s wrecking job. Stan Collender, an expert on the budget process, considers the row “the most nakedly political threatened shutdown we’ve seen”, and puts the chance of one at 75% and rising. The other option would be to ask the Democrats to make up the numbers for a continuing resolution and, more unusually, perhaps for the procedural vote, known as “the rule”, required to bring it to the floor.

Within the next few months Congress will have to negotiate difficult votes on tax, transport and the debt ceiling, as well as the budget it has so far been incapable of drawing up.

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