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Senate fails to pass Paul amendment to defund Planned Parenthood

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WASHINGTON, D.C., August 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Senate voted 45-48 Thursday on Sen. Rand Paul’s latest amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, coming up short of the 60 needed to overcome current filibuster rules and pass.

The Kentucky Republican introduced an amendment last week to the Senate appropriations package funding the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education; which would forbid money appropriated for those departments from directly or indirectly going to any entity that performs or finances most abortions.

Despite the GOP holding its congressional majorities and winning the White House in 2016 by (among other issues) promising to defund the abortion giant, legislation to do so has stalled thus far and budgets have continued to subsidize Planned Parenthood. Yet GOP leaders such as Appropriations Committee Chair Sen. Richard Shelby complained that Paul’s amendment was a “spoiler” that could prevent the broader funding bill from passing.

Before Paul was able to add his proposal to the “amendment tree’s” limited slots, Senate GOP leaders filled the last slot with a placeholder amendment that added a single dollar to one program’s funding, the Washington Examiner reports. “Its only purpose was to block Paul,” an unnamed Senate insider told the Examiner.

Paul excoriated his party's leadership on the Senate floor over the move, accusing them of "just giv[ing] lip service to pro-life issues” and being “more concerned” with “bloated government spending than saving lives.” His protest was successful in getting the vote and putting senators on the record, though the amendment ultimately failed to pass.

While the House of Representatives has passed several pro-life bills, only the one letting states defund Planned Parenthood ever became law. The 20-week abortion ban and Obamacare repeal/Planned Parenthood defunding ultimately died in the Senate, where pro-abortion GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have the power to block simple-majority votes, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unwilling to revise the legislative filibuster

President Donald Trump, who has pursued a robust pro-life agenda, says electing more Republican senators this fall is the key to passing pro-life legislation.

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