Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul’s plans to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding as part of a government spending bill hit a big bump Thursday. Paul’s provision fell considerably short of the 60 votes it needed in the Senate to become part of the enormous spending package, The Hill notes.
His amendment received a lukewarm 45-48 vote after Republicans initially blocked him from adding the amendment. Considered a “poison pill” provision, Republicans are rejecting this type of legislation because it threatens bipartisan support for the enormous bill.
“What we are trying to do is move our bills, and that could be a spoiler,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby, (R-Ala.) on Monday.
Selby didn’t rule out the possibility that there may be a later vote on the amendment.
The move by Republicans appears to have been successful because the $854 billion spending bill passed easily in the Senate Appropriations Committee, by a vote of 85-7, and now the package is on it’s way to the House.
Paul lashed out at members of his own party after Thursday’s vote.
“I will never apologize for standing up for life. If it took exposing the preference of so many in my own party to continue reckless spending over protecting the innocent, it was a fight worth having.”
He also aired his complaints on the Senate floor.
“The question is, what is more important to these Republicans? Saving lives or spending money?”
Republicans attempted to blame Democrats for blocking the senator’s provision from receiving a vote because GOP leadership refused to give Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) the chance to vote on a similar amendment. Which sounds like something Republicans would do.
Even though Republicans control the White House and Congress, their attempts to slash funding for Planned Parenthood have been largely unsuccessful. This is impressive when you consider that the Trump administration has taken steps to derail Title X grant funding to abortion providers, and Trump himself nominated anti-abortion Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. This caused concerns that he may provide the necessary vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The bill also includes a whopping $675 billion for the Defense Department and allocates funding for Health and Human Services, Labor, Education, and other services, CNBC notes.
Paul’s amendment would have prevented clinics from performing abortions, except in cases where a woman’s life is in danger, or in cases of rape or incest. It’s also not the first time he’s attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, as he proposed a similar amendment in 2015.
In this 2015 video, Paul airs his sentiments on Planned Parenthood.