WASHINGTON, D.C., February 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The House of Representatives has failed to override President Obama's veto of a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. The final vote was 241-186.
Although the bill received a majority of votes, overturning a veto requires the bill to pass by a two-thirds margin.
The “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act” (H.R. 3762) would have denied Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading abortion provider, funding from Medicaid. Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortions and received $553.7 million from taxpayers in 2014 alone, according to its most recent annual report.
In House debate, some of the bill's supporters invoked the founder of Planned Parenthood's support for eugenics.
“Margaret Sanger is connected to some of the ugliest segments in our history,” said Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-WI, on the House floor Tuesday afternoon. “If you really want to strike a blow for equality,” he said, defund Planned Parenthood.
However, Democratic representative Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX, invoked her daughter's birthday while supporting taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.
Several others invoked the recent indictment of David Daleiden to say that Planned Parenthood had been guiltless of trafficking in human organs and deserved taxpayer subsidies. Republicans “want to ignore all the facts about the grand jury investigation, that vindicated Planned Parenthood and said that their accusers instead should be indicted, said Chris Van Hollen, D-MD.
Few were surprised by the vote's failure. To get the bill onto President Obama's desk, Congressional Republicans had to use the reconciliation process, a budgetary rule that does not allow for a filibuster. Senate Democrats, who control 46 seats, have successfully used the return to regular order to stymie numerous Republican or conservative priorities.
If the bill could not muster 60 votes to stave off a Democratic filibuster, it could not be expected to receive two-thirds of the votes necessary for an override.
The reconciliation bill passed the Senate on December 3 and the House on January 6, before Obama vetoed it. That left in place a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, largely negotiated by former House Speaker John Boehner, which fully funded Planned Parenthood.
The president sternly opposed the bill in part because it would have repealed several of the defining provisions of the Affordable Care Act, conventionally known as ObamaCare.
Chief among these is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), an unelected board that critics say is charged with rationing health care in order to reduce costs.
It would also repeal the individual mandate, the employer mandate, the medical device tax, and other provisions unpopular with the law's free market critics.
A recent Marist poll found that 70 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including a majority of who describe themselves as “pro-choice.”