This article appeared online at CBN News on March 16, 2011.
Planned Parenthood Funding Continues for Now
By David Brody
Pro-life groups are upset that the U.S. House of Representatives voted not to take away federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
House Republicans have chosen again not to stage a budget standoff with Democrats in the U.S. Senate.
The battle over the budget and abortion has proven to be a fiery mix on Capitol Hill. A month ago, House Republicans moved to eliminate the $350 million Planned Parenthood receives because of questionable tactics by some of the agency’s workers. Representatives made their action part of a bill to fund the government through September.
But there’s been no agreement with Senate Democrats, so the House has had to now pass two short terms bills to keep the government running.
Those moves, called continuing resolutions, have not included the part about defunding Planned Parenthood. House Speaker John Boehner,R-Ohio, told CBN News recently that he’s not going to give the Democrats a rallying cry over a hot button social issue.
“We’re not going to take any big chances on the fact that they’re looking for an excuse to shut down the government,” Boehner said. “Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer they’ve been rooting for a government shutdown. We do not want to give them an excuse to do that.”
While Boehner seems determined to take away Planned Parenthood’s federal help in the long term, pro-life groups want that money taken away in the latest resolution which would fund the government another three weeks.
“This is really not a game and the leadership doesn’t consider it a game either,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. “But they’re a lot of people who want a lot of things out of this (continuing resolution) and there’s nothing more fundamental and important than life.”
Pro-life groups said the failure to defund Planned Parenthood shows that the House is not serious about cutting spending. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood supporters were on the Hill lobbying hard to keep their funding. It’s a serious fight that may not get resolved for awhile.
There is still no long-term solution for the budget fight going on in Washington, D.C., but Wednesday the House voted on another short-term fix.
The House passed the measure 271 to 158.
This current short term budget cuts $6 billion from the government’s spending, and keeps the things running for another three weeks, while lawmakers try to hammer out a long term agreement.
Many conservative members voted against the measure because it did not include ban on federal funding for Planned Parenthood. That fact put pressure Boehner going into Wednesday’s vote.
“Listen, I understand some of our members want to do more, but what is it in this bill to disagree with? Nothing. Nothing,” Boehner said.
Some Tea Party members were opposed, too.
“This is weak incrementalism in a time when we need bold and visionary leadership from Congress and the president,” said Mark Meckler, national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. “Kicking the can down the road will not do.”
A long list of social conservative groups has been pressuring the Republican leadership to keep funding for Planned Parenthood off the table. However, President Barack Obama has said the budget is not the place to promote political or idealogical ideas.