U.S.

GOP Won’t Include Planned Parenthood Funding in Spending Bill

Pro-life activists protest in front of a Planned Parenthood, in Philadelphia, February 11, 2017. (Charles Mostoller/Reuters)
Federal funding for the abortion giant has been a key sticking point in past budget negotiations.

A key Republican involved in the health-care portion of this month’s omnibus spending bill said that the GOP is rejecting Democrats’ request for Planned Parenthood funding.

“They’re trying to grandfather in people that have gotten grants in the past,” said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, to a gaggle of reporters on Thursday.

Instead of automatically including federal funds for the abortion giant, Republicans will leave the decision up to the Trump administration, as Congress has left it up to previous administrations.

“They don’t want the Trump administration to be able to make the decision on these grants,” Cole said of Democrats pushing the funding. But “that’s the way it was in the last administration, [and it] needs to be the same in this administration.”

Democrats say Republicans want to go further and cut Planned Parenthood out of family-planning grants and Medicaid funding as well as ban fetal-tissue research. House GOP abortion opponents have little margin for error, however, since Republican spending hawks plan to oppose the bill, forcing Speaker Paul Ryan to rely on Democratic votes to pass it.

Federal funding for Planned Parenthood has caused budgetary delays and scuffles in the past and almost shut down the government in 2015, right after videos came to light showing officials from the organization haggling over compensation for fetal body parts.

More recently, Congress failed to defund Planned Parenthood last summer when the Republican majority’s attempt to repeal Obamacare went down in flames.

Congress has until March 23 to pass the omnibus bill, and the House may vote on it next week.

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