WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate will cast its first vote on Tuesday on legislation to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Republicans will find out tomorrow which of their members oppose moving forward on the bill that also repeals Obamacare.
The legislation has been pending for many weeks and even months as Republicans have been attempting to come up with a version that would please both conservative lawmakers as well as pro-abortion Republicans who are resistant to defunding the nation’s biggest abortion company.
The Senate will move forward on the bill to repeal Obamacare and defund the Planned Parenthood abortion company if they receive more than 50 votes tomorrow.
“The only way we’ll have an opportunity to consider ideas is if senators have an opportunity to offer and debate them and that means kicking off debate, it means voting to proceed,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday on the Senate floor. “And that will occur tomorrow.”
“When the vote comes up, I’ll keep my commitment to move beyond the failures of Obamacare,” McConnell said. “I will vote yes on the motion to proceed and I would urge all of my colleagues to do the same.”
The vote has been complicated by the absence of Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who is home after surgery to remove a blood clot, and was later diagnosed with brain cancer. McCain is expected to vote for defunding Planned Parenthood and repealing Obamacare if he is able to fly to Washington for the vote to proceed.
Also complicating efforts is the news that the Senate parliamentarian may have killed the Senate bill that would defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business and repeal Obamacare.
Senate Republicans have been using the reconciliation Bill to get around a filibuster by pro-abortion Democrats who oppose defunding the nation’s biggest abortion company and repealing prohibition Obamacare that has included taxpayer-financed abortions.
The parliamentarian issued guidance saying that key portions of the defunding measure require 60 votes to pass. That’s a departure from the ruling the parliamentarian issued in 2015 concerning the same bill to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. The ruling then paved the way for a 50-vote passage and sending the bill to pro-abortion President Barack Obama, who vetoed it.
Getting 50 votes for the bill to defund Planned Parenthood has been a difficult enough prospect because three pro-abortion Republican women oppose defunding the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Requiring 60 votes for ultimate passage of the legislation would essentially kill it.
But there could be a solution.
As the Washington Times reports, “Some conservatives argue that Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, can overrule the parliamentarian while presiding over the chamber, though many Republicans are leery of making such a bold move.”
The office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the parliamentarian’s guidance is not a ruling and there is time to tweak the language, though the roadblock further clouds plans to vote Tuesday to take up a House-passed bill, work through amendments and reach for final passage.
It’s unclear whether enough senators will take leadership’s advice and vote to act on the bill this week or risk pushing members of the Republican base to link arms with Democrats to block debate.
With Sen. John McCain of Arizona absent because of his sudden cancer diagnosis, Republican leaders cannot afford more than one defection and still proceed with the bill or pass a plan.
“We are going to vote this week, and I think until the vote is actually on the floor of the Senate, some people may not tell you what they’re actually going to do,” Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, told CBS’ “Face the Nation. “We all got elected to legislate, and that’s why we’re here.”
The White House is imploring senators to start debate so they can throw Obamacare into the dustbin, saying they are just a few votes shy of fulfilling their seven-year promise.
“ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction. It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.
Three pro-abortion Republicans have announced they will prevent the Senate from debating the bill. That includes Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who have been thorns in the side of the pro-life movement for years.
But it also includes Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia — who voted for the exact same legislation previously. Her flip-flop prevents Republicans from getting the 50 votes they need to allow pro-life vice president Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the bill. Capito announced her opposition to the bill, the same piece of legislation she voted to pass in 2015 under former President Barack Obama, who vetoed the measure.
The reconciliation bill to repeal Obamacare has undergone a couple of different revisions since the House of Representatives passed its version. However, every single version of the legislation has contained the House-approved provision that defunds the nation’s biggest abortion company.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a pro-abortion Republican from Alaska, has already said definitively she won’t support repeal if it includes Planned Parenthood language.
Last month, the abortion chain Planned Parenthood finally released its annual report.
The report shows increases in abortion numbers and taxpayer funding in 2015, alongside decreases in contraception, breast exams and overall patient numbers.
Planned Parenthood continued to maintain its status as the largest abortion provider in the United States. The abortion group performed 328,348 abortions on unborn babies, 4,349 more than the previous year, according to the report.
At the same time, it saw 2.4 million patients, about 100,000 fewer than the previous year and about 500,000 fewer than five years ago. Contraception services, which the abortion chain touts as its primary service, also dropped from 2.94 million to 2.8 million during the past two years.
Meanwhile, the abortion chain received more taxpayer funding. The report shows Planned Parenthood receiving $554.6 million, up from $553.7 million the previous year. This increase occurred while pro-abortion President Barack Obama was in power.
This pattern is consistent with its annual reports from the past several years. Abortions and taxpayer funding keep going up, while patient numbers and other services go down.
A recent congressional investigation into the abortion business involving its sales of aborted baby parts concluded with lawmakers recommended that Congress defund it. Planned Parenthood also has been caught in numerous scandals involving Medicaid fraud and failures to report suspected sex trafficking and sexual abuse of minors.
Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood leaders refused an offer to receive an increase in taxpayer funding if they stopped doing abortions. CEO Cecile Richards called the offer “obscene and insulting,” making it very clear that abortions – not women’s health care – are what really are important to Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood claims it is an essential provider of women’s health care, but its own annual reports show it continues to center its practices around aborting unborn babies.
President Donald Trump promised to sign a bill that would defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
Recent polls also indicate Americans support the defunding efforts. New polling found 56 percent of Americans in battleground states want Planned Parenthood defunded.
The abortion company has also been exposed for selling the body parts of aborted children. The expose’ videos catching Planned Parenthood officials selling the body parts of aborted babies have shocked the nation. Here is a list of all 14: