Pence casts tie-breaking vote that could cut Planned Parenthood grants

by Garry Watts April 3, 2017, 3:27

The Republican-led Congress is now trying to reverse the rule using the Congressional Review Act, which lets lawmakers undo regulations enacted in the last months of the Obama administration with a majority vote.

As Republicans waited for Isakson to arrive, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office sent a note to reporters with the subject line: "What's going on with this Senate vote?" Republicans Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska broke with their party, voting against the measure.

With a successful vote on Thursday, the Senate paved the way for states to individually decide whether to withhold federal funding to health care organizations that also perform abortions.

The measure is certainly welcome in that it returns to the states the discretion to deny Planned Parenthood funding on the basis of it performing abortions.

"No federal funds go to abortion at all so all of them are preventive health services, so we're talking basic health care", said Joanna Diamond of Planned Parenthood. While courts have not allowed states to withhold Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood, they've generally allowed states to redirect family planning dollars to other health providers.

The measure barely passed with tie-breaking vote from Vice-President Mike Pence. Pence knows that. He's using this as a deterrent to Title X caregivers to stop providing abortion services.

"If you allow states to eliminate a provider that covers a third of the people who are getting access to Title X that's 1.5 million people..."

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Republicans control the Senate by only a 52-48 margin, so Pence was called on twice to break a 50-50 tie. From Vice President Mike Pence's unusual abhorrence towards dining alone with women, President Donald Trump's many golf trips, and Ivanka Trump being given an official White House position, keeping up with the Trump administration hasn't been as easy task lately.

During This Morning, CBS co-anchor Gayle King reported on the "bill allowing states to deny federal family planning money to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers".

The organization issued a statement which read, in part, "Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and this move by DC politicians would endanger their health care".

Planned Parenthood representatives couldn't help but see the irony in Pence voting to defund their clinics just a day after he attended a "women's empowerment" panel alongside the president.

The vast majority of votes for the legislation were from men, who make up 80 percent of the 115th Congress.

But I am sad to say I realize these measures will only go so far. The House passed the resolution in February.

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