WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. government is funded — until December 11, anyway.
Last night, the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to fund the federal government until December 11 — including Planned Parenthood. President Obama immediately signed the legislation.
The vote was 277-151 in the House and 78-20 in the Senate. All “No” votes came from Republicans; two GOP senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida, did not vote. Four Republicans and two Democrats did not vote in the House.
The vote came after acrimonious debate within the GOP caucus of whether to fund the government without funding Planned Parenthood. The abortion giant is under investigation for its alleged use of illegal abortions and abortion procedures to harvest fetal body parts.
Conservatives wanted to force a fight over Planned Parenthood's funding; however, more moderate members, especially senators up for re-election next year, feared political repercussions if no budget deal was passed. That would have led to a partial federal government shutdown.
Senate Democrats have played their own role in the last-minute jockeying over funding. The party has been almost in lockstep in defending Planned Parenthood's more than $500 million in federal and state subsidies, as well as demanding that Republicans increase social spending. Democrats are in the minority in the Senate, but they have enough votes to hold up the budget procedures required by law.
The House vote may have implications in a leadership shuffle taking place over the next month. Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, is resigning from the chamber on October 30. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, is widely expected to be voted into the position by his fellow Republicans.
McCarthy voted for the budget bill on Wednesday; his opponent for Speaker, Rep. Dan Webster of Florida, opposed it. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-LA, voted for the bill; his opponent for House Majority Leader is Budget Committee chairman Tom Price of Georgia — both have served as chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, though Price is considered to be more conservative.
Four candidates running to replace Scalise as Whip split their votes: Pete Sessions of Texas and Dennis Ross of Florida voted against the bill, while Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry and Markwayne Mullin backed the funding legislation.
The bill's passage drew criticism from several pro-life leaders. “President Obama and some in Congress have opted to keep taxpayer funds flowing to Planned Parenthood, even though the nation’s largest abortion chain is under four congressional investigations, and several state investigations, looking into at least three criminal acts it has committed,” said Live Action's Lila Rose.
“We are grateful for those members of Congress who tried to redirect that money to clinics that actually provide more health services to women, despite the fact that they didn’t have the votes to overcome President Obama’s threatened veto or the Democrats’ filibuster in the Senate,” she said.
In a statement, Texas Right to Life said it was “disappointed in the failure of Senate leadership to address the concerns of the American people and to stop federal funding from going to a private organization under multiple criminal investigations.”
Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins said that “our nation should be ashamed that their elected leaders lack the courage and fortitude to even put up a fight against forcing taxpayers to fork over half a billion a year to an organization whose CEO admits that she has lied in the past about conducting mammograms, makes money on the sale of the body parts of aborted babies and indulges in first class flights and lavish parties while ending the lives of nearly 900 prenatal children a day.”
Conservative Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-KS, said that “Republican leadership once again caved. They are going to fully fund Planned Parenthood. Fully fund the Iranian nuclear ‘deal.’ Fully fund Obama’s illegal amnesty. Fully fund Obamacare. Fully fund the EPA. This is exactly the reason we need new leadership. And this is exactly why 60% of all Republicans across America believe that Republicans in Washington have betrayed them.”