President Donald Trump’s spending deal that – according to him – made “everybody happy” is not making his pro-life base happy at all.
The deal Trump cut with Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi – and that the Republican-led Congress passed – funds abortion giant Planned Parenthood into fiscal year 2018 with taxpayer funds from the Medicaid program and Title X family planning grants.
The spending bill passed the Senate by a vote of 80-17 and was approved by the House, 316 to 90. Trump signed the bill into law on Friday.
The deal places the president in the position of abandoning a specific promise made to his conservative base during his 2016 campaign.
Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence outlined a pro-life agenda for a Trump administration.
“I am committed to…Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and re-allocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health for women,” Trump said in a letter to national pro-life leaders in 2016.
Republicans, of course, claim to be a pro-life party, but have failed to defund Planned Parenthood, despite promises to the contrary.
Terence Jeffrey, editor-in-chief at CNSNews.com, observes this is “the third spending deal President Trump has signed that funds Planned Parenthood”:
The first was a continuing resolution—H.J. Res. 99—that Trump signed on April 28 to keep the government funded for one week. The second, which Trump signed on May 5, was H.R. 244 (the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017”) that funded the government through the end of fiscal 2017 on Sept. 30.
The third was the continuing resolution he signed Friday. This law will allow the federal government to keep spending money into fiscal 2018 as it has been under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017—and was combined with a measure to provide $15.25 billion in recovery money for hurricane-stricken areas as well as with a measure to suspend the legal limit on the federal debt until Dec. 8.
As Breitbart News reported, Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget defunded Planned Parenthood contingent upon the approval of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the House:
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney was asked at a Monday press briefing if the new budget defunds abortion provider Planned Parenthood. He replied, “yes,” but added that it does “because it assumes the American Health Care Act passes and the AHCA in its current form, which is the one we assumed — and that’s making a bunch of assumptions, here — that it assumes that passes and that defunds Planned Parenthood.”
Trump tied Planned Parenthood’s defunding to the AHCA – which many pro-life conservatives considered to be “Obamacare-lite,” and then blamed the House Freedom Caucus for refusing to support the healthcare bill.
“The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows [Planned Parenthood] to continue if they stop this plan!” the president tweeted:
The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2017
The Republican-led Congress, however, is complicit in undermining any attempts Trump has made to keep his pro-life promises.
As Jeffrey points out, the House Appropriations Committee was actually set on completely eliminating the Title X family planning grant program, which provides discretionary federal funding to Planned Parenthood. The Senate version of an HHS appropriations bill, however, funded the Title X program for Planned Parenthood.
Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt agreed to the appropriations bill that would allow Planned Parenthood to be eligible for Title X family planning grants, and would also continue funding the Obama administration’s sex-education program – which also provided grants to Planned Parenthood.
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) – a member of the appropriations subcommittee, voted against the bill. DJ Jordan, a spokesman for Lankford, says Blunt’s agreement to the base bill 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.
The Senate Appropriations Committee also just approved a fiscal year 2018 foreign relations funding bill that would undermine Trump’s Mexico City Policy, which prohibits non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. funds – including International Planned Parenthood – from providing or promoting abortions overseas. The policy also bans these organizations from advocating for the passage of pro-abortion laws in other countries.
Overriding the ban — which Republican presidents customarily put in place days after being inaugurated — would mark an embarrassment for the Trump administration. But the appropriations bill is quite unlikely to be finalized as written. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) noted at the markup the GOP-led House would insist on keeping the Trump policy in place.
“This is the same debate we have every year, probably with the same outcome,” he said.
Pro-life leaders are now looking to the next reconciliation bill as the best way to achieve the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
“We are urging pro-life Senators to get it done in health care before time runs out, but if they can’t, it must be included in the tax reform reconciliation bill,” Marilyn Musgrave, Susan B. Anthony List Vice President of Government Affairs, tells Breitbart News. “If there’s no pathway forward on reconciliation then the pro-life movement will absolutely need to look at pursuing it in spending bills. Giving up is not an option.”
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins also emphasizes in a statement that time is limited for GOP leaders.
“Over the August recess, the Senate parliamentarian confirmed that time is ticking on Republican leaders to get a deal done on the legislation before September 30,” he states, adding:
Once the calendar flips, Congress will be back at square one: forced to move the FY2018 budget bill just to open the door to a new reconciliation process. In other words, if leadership can’t get its act together to pass something by the end of the month, it can always be added to the coming tax reconciliation bill.
Unfortunately, not every unborn child has the time to spare. The longer the Senate waits to gut Obamacare and make deep cuts to Planned Parenthood’s funding, the more innocent lives are at risk.
Jeffrey notes a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report published at the end of August states the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined Planned Parenthood receives $60 million annually from the Title X family planning program.
The CRS report published in May notes the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the CBO say Planned Parenthood is the recipient of roughly $400 million per year from Medicaid reimbursements – which makes Medicaid the largest source of taxpayer funding for the abortion chain.
“Every spending bill for more than the past decade has given tax dollars to heavily subsidize the abortion giant Planned Parenthood – President Trump made a promise to voters to finally defund the abortion industry – this needs to get done,” Tom McClusky, Vice President of Government Affairs for the March for Life, asserts in a statement to Breitbart News.
The undercover journalist who exposed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the fetal tissue trafficking industry says there are several different avenues available to Trump to keep his promise.
“Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortion business in the country, is just one vote away from losing the $550 million in taxpayer subsidies that prop up its barbaric abortion empire,” David Daleiden tells Breitbart News.
The administration also has several tools at its disposal to fulfill President Trump’s campaign promises to stop forcing taxpayers to support Planned Parenthood’s abortion business. The pro-life majority who were decisive in the last election expect that Planned Parenthood will be defunded and prosecuted immediately for its illegal sale of baby body parts, documented by two year-long Congressional investigations and numerous criminal referrals.
In its latest annual report released in May, Planned Parenthood increased its number of abortions performed last year to 328,348, but showed 136,244 fewer contraception services than the year before. The organization also reveals a significant drop in many of its other non-abortion services, including cancer screenings and prenatal services.
Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding and its profits, however, have increased over the past year.
The organization shows an increase in government reimbursement and grants this past year, reporting $554.6 million in taxpayer funding, while in 2014-2015 it reported $553.7 million. The group’s profits – listed as “Excess in Revenue Over Expenses” – rose from $58.8 million in 2014-2015 to $77.5 million in 2015-2016.