Senate narrowly passes bill to nullify 11th hour gift from Obama to Planned Parenthood

Vice President casts tie-breaking votes

By Dave Andrusko

It was every bit as tight as expected. Earlier today, in his role as President of the Senate, pro-life Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote which allowed action to proceed on H. J. Res. 43.

This afternoon he cast the same tie-breaking vote on the measure itself which uses the Congressional Review Act to address Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services’ regulation designed to prevent states from redirecting Title X funds away from unsuitable organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

H. J. Res. 43 had previously passed the House 230-188.

H. J. Res. 43 now moves to President Trump for his signature.

The 50-50 vote came about because Republicans control the Senate by only a 52-48 margin. Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against allowing the legislature to more forward, necessitating Pence’s tie-breaking vote, and against the bill itself, requiring a second tie-breaking vote by the Vice President.

Adding drama to an already tense situation, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) returned to the Senate for the first time since having back surgery to cast the 50th vote, creating the tie that led to Pence’s vote.

In recent years, several states receiving Title X family planning grants have opted to direct those funds to county health departments, community health centers, or other types of providers, in preference to organizations engaged in objectionable activities, such as Planned Parenthood, a mega-marketer of abortion that has also been involved in fetal organ trafficking.

The HHS regulation took effect January 18, two days before Obama left office.

H.J. Res. 43 would mean that states, if they chose, could continue to attempt to redirect Title X funds away from objectionable organizations.

In its letter to members of the Senate in support of H. J. Res. 43, NRLC wrote

Over one-third of all abortions in the U.S. are performed at PPFA-affiliated facilities. Longstanding objections to the massive governmental funding of PPFA have been reinforced by widely publicized undercover videos, which illuminate the callous brutality that occurs daily in these abortion mills.

When the House voted in favor of H.J. Res. 43, pro-life Iowa Senator Joni Ernst congratulated her House colleagues:

Today marked a major step toward scrapping the Obama administration’s eleventh-hour rule, which secures Title X federal family planning funding for Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest provider of abortions. I remain committed to restoring our states’ ability to make their own decisions about the best eligible Title X providers for folks, and I look forward to seeing this rule overturned.”