The U.S. Senate approved a bill Thursday that would strip Obamacare of key tax-raising features and would also eliminate taxpayer-funding of abortion businesses, including Planned Parenthood.
“For years, the American people have been calling on Washington to build a bridge away from Obamacare,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “For years, Democrats prevented the Senate from passing legislation to do so.”
The 52 to 47 vote also would strip taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood for one year. This measures has been pushed by a renewed call to defund the abortion business since the release of videos exposing the organization’s apparent practices of harvesting body parts of unborn babies and altering the position of babies during abortions in order to harvest their intact organs.
Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee challenged a repeal bill passed by the House for not going far enough. A conservative aide tells Breitbart News that Senate leadership is finally following their lead in keeping their promises to the American people who elected them.
The measure, which passed 52-47 under the reconciliation budgetary process, will head to the House for a vote. The House passed a similar Obamacare repeal bill. The Senate and the House must soon approve identical bills before they can get to the president’s desk.
President Barack Obama, however, has already said he will veto the Senate bill.
In the Senate, Democrats and several liberal Republicans tried but failed to gut the language that defunds Planned Parenthood from the bill.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins commended the U.S. Senate for approving the bill. “This is a huge victory for unborn children, their mothers, and for taxpayers,” Perkins said. “For the first time during the Obama presidency, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have approved legislation that begins to end the forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood.”
“President Obama will now bear the moral responsibility for sending our tax dollars to a group that has engaged in the selling of baby body parts,” he continued. “Even if the President vetoes the bill, we’ve still succeeded, because a Senate precedent has now been set for moving a similar measure forward when America finally has a President who understands the value of every person, born and unborn.”
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, also praised the Senate’s approval of the legislation that would transfer taxpayer Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood to health care clinics that do not perform abortions. “It’s an understatement to say that Planned Parenthood has shown itself unworthy of taxpayer support,” said Pavone. “The 325,000 lives it destroys every year are 325,000 reasons to redirect taxpayer funds to groups that provide health care without taking innocent lives.”
“When there are legitimate health care providers that actually help women and their babies, it’s a travesty to give one dime to Planned Parenthood,” he added. “The Senate is to be commended for standing up for women, their children, and taxpayers who object to subsidizing a billion-dollar abortion business.”
The bill would also end the individual mandate of Obamacare that requires most people to purchase health insurance, and strip the authority of the federal government to run health care exchanges.
McConnell called the bill’s passage “a victory for the middle class families who’ve endured this law’s pain for too long.”
Democrats proposed amendments to the bill that would enhance gun control measures, but Republicans blocked those amendments.