WASHINGTON, D.C., April 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The sole issue preventing Congress from agreeing on a budget bill and threatening to shut down the government is the GOP effort - and Democrats’ unwillingness - to end funding for abortion giant Planned Parenthood, Democratic party leaders have admitted.
While Democrats are blaming Republicans for the looming government shutdown, both Democrat leaders and President Obama initiated the arm-twisting this week by vowing to block GOP efforts to continue funding U.S. troops and other government employees.
Republican leaders in the House are battling increasing pressure to abandon plans to defund Planned Parenthood, the largest nationwide abortion provider. In the wake of recent undercover stings revealing a pattern of cooperation with sex traffickers and statutory rapists at Planned Parenthood, the GOP is pushing to defund the organization as part of an effort to curb an out-of-control national deficit.
However, the pro-abortion establishment among the Democratic party has come out in full force against GOP efforts, with leaders such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accusing the party of attacking “women’s health.”
“The only issue left was women’s health. This has been a moving target but now we’ve come to realize that the moving target is now focused on a bull’s eye on women in America,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid told reporters, as quoted by Reuters. Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on Thursday also complained that the budget bill deal was being stalled by the Planned Parenthood issue.
While the senators blamed Republicans for “taking people’s paychecks away from them” over the ideological battle, GOP efforts to continue funding for the government have been blocked by Democrats. Although Congress has approved several short-term Continuing Resolutions (CR) this year, the compromises suddenly ended after the House earlier this week approved a bill that reinstated the Dornan amendment, a ban on taxpayer funding for abortions in the District of Columbia.
President Obama dismissed the short-term CR introduced Monday as a “distraction,” and specifically criticized Republicans attempts to cut funding for abortion, saying, “We don’t have time for games.”
On Friday morning, the Democrat strategy appeared to change as Reid announced that the Senate would present “our own short-term CR” maintaining current abortion spending. Politico reports that it is likely Reid will offer the House-passed short-term CR bill cutting the abortion funding alongside the new Senate version, which maintains abortion funding, before the government shuts down at midnight tonight.
The Dornan amendment has a history of bipartisan support: signed into law by President Bill Clinton several times, it was also approved by Barack Obama during his service as a Senator from Illinois twice, and signed by him while president in Fiscal Year 2009. Sources on Capitol Hill say that if the Senate acts on the House-approved CR that includes the Dornan amendment, the vote would be “very close.”
Possibly crucial votes have been pinpointed as Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts; Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; Kent Conrad of North Dakota; Tim Johnson of Illinois; Mark Kirk of Illinois; Mary Landrieu of Louisiana; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; Ben Nelson of Nebraska; and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.