WASHINGTON, D.C., September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The news that John Boehner is resigning as House Speaker overshadowed another development on Capitol Hill: House Republicans have announced the next skirmish in their battle to defund the nation's largest abortion provider.
Instead of using a Continuing Resolution to deny Planned Parenthood half-a-billion dollars in taxpayer funding, the chamber will vote for a “clean” bill that funds all of President Obama's priorities, side-stepping a potential government shutdown on the first of the month.
The Senate had already scheduled a vote on a “clean” bill for early next week, but the future of the more conservative House was unknown.
Congressman John Fleming, R-LA, told The Washington Post on Friday morning, “The commitment has been made that there will be no shutdown.”
House leadership hopes members will use a process known as reconciliation. Bills passed using that method are not subject to filibuster and require only a majority of votes in both Republican-controlled chambers.
They plan to use the tactic to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal unspecific portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), conventionally known as ObamaCare. However, abandoning the CR would mean that pro-life politicians must vote to fund Planned Parenthood through December 11.
That doesn't sit well with some members of the House Freedom Caucus – the staunch, conservative voice of Congress – who do not feel they can vote for any funding for the scandal-plagued organization alleged to harvest and sell unborn babies' body parts.
As many as 50 Congressmen may vote against any CR containing Planned Parenthood funding, South Carolina Republican Mick Mulvaney said after a strategy meeting on Thursday.
Heritage Action also warns that reconciliation cannot be used, due to technicalities of the legislative process. Others dismiss their concerns.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said if the House stands its ground, it must wage – and win – the war in the public mind.
“If Barack Obama is so eager to cut up babies that he's willing to shut the government down,” Gingrich said, “we ought to make it clear who's shutting down the government.”
He dismissed concern that a backlash will sink Republicans in next year's election, as well. “This is all a Washington mythology to teach Republicans to be cowards,” Gingrich said.
The announcement of reconciliation came at the same time that House Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation from Congress effective at the end of next month.
Some see this as a form of capitulation. Christian conservative talk show host Steve Deace said, “I take timing of Boehner's resignation to mean GOP leadership plans on caving on every fight this month, then Boehner falls on his sword.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said that he hoped “the Republican majority, which Speaker Boehner played a large role in creating, learns the right lesson from his resignation: to work with Democrats in a constructive way, rather than let a handful of extreme right-wingers dictate his party’s policy.”
The process is of less concern to pro-lifers than the outcome.
“Congress should do whatever it takes to make sure that Planned Parenthood doesn’t receive another dime from taxpayers,” Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America told LifeSiteNews. “Pro-lifers supposedly have the majority in both houses. Use it.”
Congresswoman Diane Black, R-TN, agreed, saying, “I’m for whatever gets a bill to the president’s desk.”
Reconciliation would get the bill, and the defunding measure, into the Oval Office. President Obama has promised to veto the measure. At least, congressmen argue, the veto would put President Obama on the record as approving of an organization that allegedly deals in dismembers human body parts.
They hope that will be a victory in its own right.