By Dave Andrusko
Yesterday afternoon, 16 days before the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3762, a bill which, as NRLC explained, “would block most federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, and repeal many parts of Obamacare, including the program that provides tax-based subsidies for about 1,000 health plans that cover elective abortions.”
“The Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act” passed 240-181 with only one Democrat voting in favor and three Republicans voting against.
This comes on the heels of favorable Senate action last month. The roll call on final passage also came down almost exclusively along party lines. All but two Republicans voted to pass the bill, and every Democrat voted against passage.
If you haven’t already, please read the stories here and here for a fuller explanation of a significant milestone in the fight to redirect money from Planned Parenthood to community health centers and repeal many parts of Obamacare.
Among the many, many takeaways, here are three.
#1. The bill will soon be in the hands of President Barack Obama. Will he veto H.R. 3762? Sure. This is who he is. His commitment to protecting the nearly half-billion dollars that PPFA tap into annually is part of his larger embrace of the abortion industry that traffics in the blood of unborn children and the misery of women in crisis.
Many commentators (pro and anti-Obama) recognize that his administration is running on fumes. But Mr. Obama will have more than enough energy to veto the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (“the budget reconciliation bill” for short).
But what is the lesson? The country, not just our Movement, needs a pro-life President, someone who is not in thrall to the PPFAs and EMILY Lists and NARALs of this world. That opportunity presents itself on November 8.
#2. NRLC, working with pro-life congressional leaders and other pro-life groups, threaded the needle to circumvent a pro-abortion filibuster in the Senate. As NRLC’s federal legislation department has explained on many occasions, Planned Parenthood is not specifically designated in any law to receive federal funds. Rather “PPFA affiliates tap into various federal programs, primarily Medicaid, to an aggregate amount of roughly $450 million a year.”
The House could, and has, repeatedly passed bills to block PPFA from receiving federal funds. But 60 votes are needed to overcome filibusters by Democratic senators, for now an impossible hurtle to overcome. What to do? Block most federal funds from Planned Parenthood in a “budget reconciliation” bill.
As NRLC explained yesterday, “A budget reconciliation bill can be passed, at most, once a year, and complicated rules limit the types of provisions that a reconciliation bill can carry. But a budget reconciliation bill has the great advantage of being immune from filibuster in the Senate.”
During Wednesday’s debate, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) said, “When a Republican president takes over next year, we can use reconciliation again.”
#3. This is the most recent chapter in a book-length fight to rein in federal funding for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a $1.3 billion “non-profit.” Ten years ago, even five years ago, this might have seemed a pipe dream. It is no longer. Why?
For one thing, thanks to the work of grassroots pro-lifers there are many, many more pro-life representatives and senators in Congress. That is necessary, but not sufficient. While we maintain, even increase our numbers, we also need a pro-life president.
For another, PPFA’s one-time pristine public image has taken a tremendous hit, thanks in large measure to the undercover videos taken by the Center for Medical Progress. Evil flourishes in the darkness. The CMP video shone a light on an industry that cannot tolerate sunshine.
Finally, there is the cumulative effect of calling evil, evil. If you watched the Republican presidential debates, you saw candidate after candidate call PPFA on the carpet. Many millions of people who may have had a fuzzy image of PPFA as some sort of benign provider of “women’s health care” learned otherwise.
An important breakthrough Wednesday, one for which we should all be very, very grateful.