Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt has agreed to an appropriations bill that will deeply undermine President Donald Trump’s stated pro-life agenda.
The bill will allow Planned Parenthood to be eligible for Title X family planning grants, and will also continue funding the Obama administration’s sex-education program which also provided grants to Planned Parenthood — unless it is reversed in the closed-door conference negotiations between the House and Senate late this year.
Blunt is the chairman of the Senate’s Appropriations subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and he agreed to the provisions which were requested by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
Blunt is also chairman of the Senate Values Action Team and claims to be a pro-life advocate. The Republican Party told its conservative, pro-life base that – once a Republican was in the White House – that Planned Parenthood would finally be defunded.
President Donald Trump promised his pro-life constituents he would defund Planned Parenthood if the organization continued to perform abortions, and reallocate its funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women and families.
The organization – founded by eugenicist Margaret Sanger – has faced possible elimination of its taxpayer funds following years of scandals, including Medicaid fraud, allegations of child sex abuse cover-up, and, most recently, alleged profiteering from the sale of body parts of babies aborted in its clinics.
“In the face of the horrors of Planned Parenthood’s activities, Sen. Blunt allowed his own bill to move forward in a way that continues Obama Administration policy to protect the abortion industry,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement to Breitbart News.
A source close to Breitbart News with knowledge of the appropriations bill said Blunt entered into an agreement with Murray, the ranking member of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. Murray said in her statement about the bill:
This is a bipartisan compromise and not the bill that either of us would have written on our own, but I am glad that Senator Blunt and I were able to work together to protect many critical investments in students, workers, women, families, and the economy. I am especially pleased that this bill doesn’t include a single new damaging policy rider … this bill is a good first step and a strong foundation for continued bipartisan work.
Specifically, the bill would continue to fund the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Title X family planning grants and Obama-era Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program, with “new bill language that directs HHS to administer the program as it was during the Obama Administration.”
The two key provisions are as follows:
Family Planning Clinics. The bill includes $287 million for the Title X program, the same level of funding as in fiscal year 2017. Grantees rely on these funds to provide comprehensive family planning and preventive health services to nearly 5 million people. The bill also includes new bill language that directs HHS to administer the program as it was during the Obama Administration.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP). The bill includes $108 million for the TPP program, which provides funding for evidence-based interventions that reduce teen pregnancy and are medically accurate as well as age appropriate. This is level with fiscal year 2017. The program was proposed for elimination in the President’s budget. The bill also includes new bill language directing HHS to administer the program as it was during the Obama Administration.
“This is completely undermining Trump’s pro-life agenda and Secretary Price’s pro-life agenda,” said the source to Breitbart News. “If Murray wanted to offer this stuff as amendments and you have a debate and a vote is one thing, but for Blunt to allow this in the base bill, this is not how a Republican, pro-life Senate should be acting. It’s unilateral disarmament.”
The source told Breitbart News that Planned Parenthood obtains a significant amount of the TPP program funds which is used, in turn, to create agreements with Title X family planning clinics. Students receive TPP “sex ed” in schools – which is heavily focused on the use of contraception – and are then referred to Planned Parenthood for contraception, abortions, and other services.
The appropriations bill clears the subcommittee following President Donald Trump’s signature on a resolution in April that overturns former President Barack Obama’s rule that forced states to provide family planning grants under Title X to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
Planned Parenthood receives about $70 million per year in Title X grants to subsidize birth control.
Additionally, Trump has proposed to defund the Obama-era TPP programs that have been shown to be ineffective. Trump’s budget funds, instead, Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) programs which incorporate more parental involvement and emphasize abstinence from sex. Obama – a champion for Planned Parenthood – had not requested any funding for SRA programs in his 2017 budget.
Ascend – an organization that promotes SRA programs and was previously run by Huber – noted research that shows more than 80 percent of students in the Obama-era TPP either fared worse or no better than their peers.
Additionally, Ascend observed, the numerous studies supporting TPP-type programs have produced results that “are not as compelling as they first appear.”
The group cites weaknesses in the research, as well as flawed metrics and ignorance of common research protocols.
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) – a member of the appropriations subcommittee, voted against the bill. DJ Jordan, a spokesman for Lankford, says Blunt has agreed to a base bill that will tie the hands of the Trump administration in the issuance of Title X grants:
As written, the bill does not just provide funding for family planning programs, it also prohibits the Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department from changing the current rules for the issuance of Title X grants. Through this bill, Congress requires the current administration to use the same rules as used by the Obama administration. This comes on the heels of a successful vote under the Congressional Review Act to disapprove of an Obama-era rule prohibiting states from denying Title X funds to Planned Parenthood. Placing this kind of limitation on the current administration is completely unacceptable. Senator Lankford voted no on passage of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee bill and as the bill moves forward, will continue to fight for removal of this harmful language and prioritize pro-life policies.
Earlier this year, the House approved H.J. Res. 43, introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN). The resolution used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rescind the Obama administration Title X rule, enacted during the last days of the former president’s term as a means to provide protection for Planned Parenthood.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) sponsored the measure in the Senate. Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote at the end of March to enable approval in that chamber after Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against it.
Blunt’s office did not immediately return a request for comment from Breitbart News.