“NO” on CR that Funds Planned Parenthood (H.R. 719)

On Wednesday, the House will likely vote to consider the Senate-passed continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government’s discretionary operations until December 11, 2015.  That bill will also continue taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, an organization that will commit more than 70,000 abortions between now and December 11.  Planned Parenthood has been accused of manipulating abortion procedures to secure higher prices for the sale of baby parts from aborted children.

The Constitution grants the legislative branch, not the executive branch, the “power of the purse.”  Thus, Congress has the authority to withhold all federal dollars — more than $500 million annually — from Planned Parenthood, including tax dollars received from both Title X family planning funds and Medicaid.  Congress can also redirect those funds to federally qualified health clinics, which outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics 20-to-1 and provide more comprehensive care.

In Federalist No. 58, James Madison was unambiguous in his assertion of congressional authority, writing the “power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”

Unfortunately, earlier this month Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 42% explicitly rejected using the power of the purse to deny taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood because President Obama “made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding Planned Parenthood, so that’s another issue that awaits a new president.”

Instead of attempting to reassert Congress’s constitutional prerogatives, Republican leaders are engaged in a series of political show votes.  According to reports, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) 52% “said the House and Senate had been in talks and leaders decided that it was better for the Senate to move forward first, to show that a funding bill cutting off Planned Parenthood would fail.”  Put another way, the Senate’s unwillingness to fight the president on the issue of abortion is being blessed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

The federal government should not be in the business of funding organizations that harvest and sell baby parts from aborted children.  Instead, lawmakers should redirect that funding to the more than 13,000 federally qualified health centers and hospitals that provide comprehensive care.  There is absolutely no reason taxpayer money should continue flowing to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Heritage Action will oppose a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that continues funding of Planned Parenthood and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

Related
Heritage: Congress Can (and Should) Defund Planned Parenthood During Appropriations Process
Letter: Conservative, Pro-life Groups Oppose Any Bill Funding Planned Parenthood