Senate Rejects House Bill De-Funding Planned Parenthood

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 9, 2011   |   4:34PM   |   Washington, DC

The Senate rejected, on a 44-56 vote, the House-approved long-term budget bill that contains the Pence Amendment de-funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Lawmakers needed 60 votes to pass the bill under the rules of the Senate and did not come close to the number needed to do so.

The Senate voted on H.R. 1, the long-term Continuing Resolution the House approved in February that contains the Pence Amendment and pro-life riders that reinstates the Mexico City Policy, stops abortion funding in the District of Columbia, and de-funds the pro-abortion UNFPA, which works hand-in-hand with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions to enforce the one-child policy.

All of the Democrats voted against the pro-life version of the budget bill, but strongly conservative Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and Rand Paul of Kentucky joining them. Because major national pro-life groups heavily lobbied the vote, the three may seen as going against the wishes of the pro-life community and their votes may hurt their standing in their home states with pro-life voters.

After defeating the pro-life House bill, senators also defeated a Democrat-sponsored long-term budget bill, that also required 60 votes. Although they did not vote against the bill because it lacked pro-life provisions, a handful of Senate Democrats voted against the measure — including  Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and others who will face difficult re-election contests in 2012.

The Senate version of the measure does not contain the amendment revoking Planned Parenthood’s funding or containing the pro-life riders — “Such language has no place in a bill that is necessary to keep the government operating, and therefore is not included in the Senate version,” Appropriations Committee Democrats said when they released their bill.

President Barack Obama has indicated he will veto a Continuing Resolution that funds the federal government but cuts funding for the nation’s largest abortion business. Reid has also indicated he does not support the Planned Parenthood funding ban in the bill.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council responded to today’s vote this way:

Barring some miracle, Congress will have to draw up another emergency measure to keep the wheels of Washington turning. And when they do, FRC will be there to work with Members to make sure promises made are promises kept. It’s time to include the pro-life language conservatives fought for. That means reinserting two key provisions in the next budget band-aid: defunding Planned Parenthood and the ban on taxpayer-funded abortions in D.C. Every day we wait is another dollar in Planned Parenthood’s pocket. For once, we have a clean shot at blowing a hole in the Left’s budget–and if the House doesn’t take it, the opportunity may never come around again.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is apparently more interested in protecting the federal gravy train that is feeding liberal advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood than he is in addressing the growing financial burden placed on the American family by out-of-control government spending.

Unlike the U.S. House of Representatives, which focused on getting the U.S. economy back on track by cutting such wasteful spending as federal support for Planned Parenthood, Sen. Reid and his allies have shown once again that they care more about the political advantage of funding groups that support their Party than cutting wasteful spending and reducing the national deficit.

Following the House passage of the CR with the Pence Amendment, Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates began heavily lobbying senators against a CR that de-funds it and it says it has generated more than 800,000 messages to members of Congress.

A coalition of pro-life groups say they have generated more than 1 million emails and petitions to House and Senate lawmakers supporting de-funding and the pro-life provisions in the House-approved bill.

Note:  A previous version of this story indicated the National Right to Life Committee scored the vote on HR 1 in the Senate. That is not the case and we regret the error.