U.S. House votes on Obamacare replacement defunding Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted ___ to ___ today to pass/reject the American Health Care Act, the Obamacare replacement bill that defunds most of Planned Parenthood.
Pro-life groups were initially hesitant to fully support the bill over concerns that the healthcare tax credits it provides people could be used to fund abortion.
But, it went through many revisions that provided pro-lifers with more reassurance.
On Tuesday, the Family Research Council (FRC) thanked the Republican Study Committee, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, and House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows, R-NC, for "addressing our grave concerns over the abortion funding issues."
Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, touted the bill's pro-life aspects on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to continue courting pro-lifers.
"The AHCA blocks more than $500 million of federal dollars currently going to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, for one year, and instead sends money to community health centers, which far outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics," a piece on his website titled "Health Care Bill Restores Pro-Life Principles" says. "Women’s health will not be neglected. Instead, the AHCA will redirect $422 million to community health centers around the United States—ones that do not perform abortions and have a proven record of helping women."
The House Rules Committee approved a new pro-life protection today to prevent the Healthcare Savings Accounts the plan set up from funding abortion.
Previously, the bill gave people tax credits to use for healthcare costs. If they didn't spend all of the money, it would be rolled over into a Healthcare Savings Account. In order to prevent this money from being used to fund abortions, the Rules Committee removed the possibility of rolling it over.
The Rules Committee invoked "martial law" to allow them to approve the bill and then bring it to the House floor for a full vote on the same day. Normally, the Rules committee cannot schedule a floor vote the same day as the committee votes on a bill. "Martial law" provides an exception to that.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus met with President Trump at around 11:30 this morning. Trump lobbied this group, a conservative faction of the GOP, to vote for the ACHA.
Around 1:30 p.m., Rep. Justin Amash, R-MI, told reporters he thought it would be a mistake for the House to vote on the bill tonight.
Meadows told media the negotiations between the House Freedom Caucus and the Trump administration were all related to "the Obamacare mandates, the Obamacare rules."
Whether the ACHA will pass the Senate remains to be seen. The ACHA bill passed the House as part of the budget reconciliation process, which fast-tracked the bill and means it only needs a simple majority in the Senate. But, senators could challenge the language in the bill as not sufficiently related to changing spending or reducing deficit. If this is the case, then it's unlikely to be a victory for the pro-life movement.
As FRC explains, "The Senate could waive the rule, but it would take 60 votes to pass the bill that the GOP doesn't have. Obviously, liberals will do anything to protect Planned Parenthood and abortion funding – including arguing that these provisions are irrelevant to the budget process."