House Speaker John Boehner appears to be holding fast and insisting that House Republicans will not back down on keeping a provision to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business in the budget bill.
House Republicans and Senate Democrats are attempting to negotiate a long-term continuing resolution that would fund the federal government and federal programs, such as the Title X family planning program that provides tens of millions in federal funds to Planned Parenthood. The House approved a long-term bill weeks ago with the Pence Amendment to yank funding for the abortion business, but Senate Democrats rejected it.
Since then, both chambers approved a short-term bill that did not contain the amendment and Boehner and other top Republican leaders said they would renew the fight for the Pence Amendment in the long-term bill, which would make the de-funding effort longer-lasting.
Today, according to a Politico report, “Boehner has told White House officials that his caucus won’t agree to strip out the provisions — which are red meat for the party’s conservative base — while Obama aides are equally adamant about removing the riders.”
The news website quoted one Hill staffer who admitted, “That’s the next big hump. I’m not sure we can get over that one in time.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has already said “hell no” in response to questions about whether the de-funding and pro-life riders could be added to the long-term bill, appeared to be open to re-examining that.
“There aren’t many of them that excite me,” he said, “but we’re willing to look at them. In fact, we’ve already started looking at some of the policy riders.”
If both sides don’t come to an agreement, some top lawmakers told Politico a shutdown of non-essential government services and programs could be in order, with Republican Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho saying there is a 50-50 chance.
“The only reason I say that is because I don’t see the House capitulating much, and so far, I haven’t seen any give from the White House,” Crapo said. “So there’s no movement that I can see.”
“We’re probably looking at a shutdown,” said Sen. Mark Pryor, an Arkansas Democrat added and Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski added, “Right now, they look a bit dismal.”
While Republicans and Democrats spar about the budget, pro-life groups continuing to push every pro-life voter to call or email their lawmakers and tell them to support de-funding Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood receives $11 from taxpayers every second. They have already received over $82 million from us this year,” Deal Hudson of Catholic Advocate complained. “Every 96 seconds, Planned Parenthood performs an abortion with that money; we have lost over 79,000 babies already this year. This is hard news for me to report to you, but I am compelled to share the truth so you can help us educate those in Washington.”
Tony Perkins weighed in as well, telling LifeNews: “With 11 days left on the latest temporary budget, you could cut the tension on Capitol Hill with a knife. And that may be all some Democrats are willing to cut as both sides dig in for a messy two weeks. After six continuing resolutions, the time for cosmetic fixes is over. Americans need some finality on the budget, and it will take painful decisions from both parties to achieve it.”
“Republicans don’t need to stand up to the Tea Party; they need to stand up to irresponsible Democrats and strengthen their position before heading into an even tougher budget battle over 2012. The time to show resolve is now–not later, when Republicans will be bargaining from a weakened position,” he said.
Brian Burch of Catholic Vote commented, “Our fight to stop taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood has reached a defining moment. Lawmakers return to Washington D.C. today and will decide within days whether to continue funding Planned Parenthood.”
“The necessary votes are still uncertain — as our elected leaders must agree on how to fund our government through the end of the year,” he said. “Our lawmakers have been kicking the can down the road for the past month. That’s why we have joined frustrated lawmakers and other groups in demanding a long-term funding solution that includes a prohibition of taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. We have the votes in the House. And so if the Senate refuses to pass this bill and forces the government to shut down — so be it. That is Harry Reid’s problem.”
On Monday, pro-life advocates played the latest piece on the game board in the race to de-fund Planned Parenthood. A coalition of pro-life groups announced the launch of a $100,000 radio ad campaign in Washington and a $90,000 television ad campaign to go along with it that features Abby Johnson, the former director of a Texas clinic run by Planned Parenthood.