MORGANTON, North Carolina — Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the public face of the brewing rebellion against House Speaker John Boehner from within Republican ranks, is laying a marker down on Planned Parenthood funding.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News here in his North Carolina district, Meadows made extraordinary clear what Boehner would be supporting if he doesn’t fully defund Planned Parenthood as part of the must-pass government funding legislation. If Boehner uses tax dollars to keep funding Planned Parenthood, Meadows says, he will be publicly supporting that organization’s activities including its selling of aborted baby body parts to the highest bidder.
“Yeah, there’s no other way [to look at it],” Meadows said in the interview on Sept. 3.
If you’re going to give $500 million to Planned Parenthood, you have to say that tacitly you are at least willing to look the other in the face of six or seven videos that most of us would find extremely disturbing. One of them was so bad that my staff couldn’t even watch the whole thing. So when you have people used to these issues not being able to watch it, it’s tough.
Meadows said that Boehner is “pro-life” and if he funds Planned Parenthood he wouldn’t be undermining that position. He would, however, be supporting the actions portrayed in several videos from the Center for Medical Progress.
“He is pro-life. And I don’t see it as that going back on his pro-life position,” Meadows said of Boehner.
But here’s the problem. There’s a big difference on your stance on your abortion, and the selling of baby parts potentially taking liver and brains and using a less crunchy procedure in these horrific videos. There’s a big difference. Regardless of where your stance is on abortion, that’s okay. For a number of us, we’re not making it about abortion. We’re making it strictly about Planned Parenthood. What we’re talking about is moving the money to community health clinics. Most of them still provide those same types of abortion coverage. I know the ones in my district do. It’s moving money from Planned Parenthood to another women’s healthcare group so they can try to make it about abortion, but it’s really about Planned Parenthood and the awful type of procedures we’ve seen played out in these videos.
Meadows is the public face of a carefully built, well-organized conservative plan to push for new Republican leadership in the House of Representatives. He has a resolution containing a motion to vacate the chair—a fancy term for removing Boehner as Speaker—that he offered in July just before the August congressional recess. Meadows can offer that measure at any time as a privileged resolution, and within a couple days force a floor vote on that measure.
It’s expected that Planned Parenthood funding will play a major role in whether or not Meadows offers his motion as a privileged resolution. At this time, barring some significant effort by Boehner to regain confidence among Republicans or Democrats voting for his reelection, Breitbart News has confirmed that Boehner does not have enough GOP votes to win re-election.
The House is going to vote this week on legislation from Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) that would bar Planned Parenthood funding from any part of government for one year, but a senior GOP congressional aide warns that the abortion-providing group may be able to get around it by following the Hyde Amendment. It’s been in place for decades and technically bars taxpayer dollars for being used for abortion except in cases of incest, rape and where the life of the mother is in jeopardy. But that’s not the real problem with Black’s legislation: her bill won’t go anywhere after passing the House of Representatives, since it isn’t attached to must-pass funding legislation.
For Congress to really defund Planned Parenthood—instead of pretending it’s trying to defund the group—a bill doing so has to be attached to must-pass legislation, has to pass the House and Senate, and would need to be signed by the president. If the must-pass bill that would do so is the bill that funds the government’s operations—like the forthcoming Continuing Resolution (CR) or any appropriations bill like an omnibus—if there is an impasse between the House and Senate or between the Congress and the president, there could be a government shutdown.
Congress has traditionally used the power of the purse to block spending by the executive branch on issues and programs it disapproves. In recent years, that power has diminished significantly—especially under this current GOP congress and the administration of President Barack Obama—largely because of Republican leaders standing down without having the political fight to force the handful of Senate Democrats filibustering bills from passing that chamber of Congress and not fighting Obama’s executive branch into political corners. It is possible to win defunding battles, and it would be hard for Obama to continue to publicly defend the Planned Parenthood practices of selling body parts of aborted babies to the highest bidder.
As such, Black’s bill means nothing even if—as she’s calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to do—the Senate passes it because the president can’t be politically railroaded into signing it. The only way to fight Obama and win is for Congress to use the leverage it has, and that comes on must-pass legislation.
Such a showdown, even after the facade bill from Black passes the House this week, looms later in the month with Meadows’ warning here and with promises from other influential Republicans conference-wide especially from the House Freedom Caucus.
“Given the appalling revelations surrounding Planned Parenthood, we cannot in good moral conscience vote to send taxpayer money to this organization while still fulfilling our duty to represent our constituents,” the House Freedom Caucus said in a joint statement ahead of this battle. “We must therefore oppose any spending measure that contains funding for Planned Parenthood.”
The Freedom Caucus’ chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), according to the Wall Street Journal last week, made clear which must-pass bill this fight will happen on.
“It has to be dealt with on the funding bill,” Jordan said. “They shouldn’t continue to receive a penny of taxpayer money.”
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), a top ally of Jordan’s and a Freedom Caucus member who’s also publicly supporting Meadows’ efforts to remove Boehner as Speaker, is helping lead an organizational effort to defund Planned Parenthood on a funding bill.
“Please know that we cannot and will not support any funding resolution – an appropriations bill, an omnibus package, a continuing resolution, or otherwise – that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood, including mandatory funding streams,” Mulvaney’s letter, signed by several of his colleagues, to House GOP leadership just before the August recess reads.
He sent a follow-up letter to Boehner and his leadership team this past week, in which he detailed nearly the exact same thing using nearly identical language. In total, 31 House GOP members have signed onto Mulvaney’s two letters. Those 31 members are: Reps. Jordan, Mulvaney, Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Curt Clawson (R-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), John Fleming (R-LA), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Walter Jones (R-NC), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Scott Perry (R-PA), Keith Rothfus (R-PA), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Randy Weber (R-TX), Justin Amash (R-MI), Brian Babin (R-TX), David Brat (R-VA), Ken Buck (R-CO), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Jody Hice (R-GA), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), David Rouzer (R-NC), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Mark Walker (R-NC), Roger Williams (R-TX) and Ted Yoho (R-FL).