As Congress prepares to debate spending bills for the remainder of fiscal 2016, some lawmakers, including House Freedom Caucus member Barry Loudermilk, are rethinking whether to insist on defunding Planned Parenthood as a condition of the bill’s passage. From a story in today’s Wall Street Journal:
A number of congressional Republicans are moving away from making Planned Parenthood funding their biggest goal in coming spending battles and instead are looking to pick more winnable policy battles such as curbing the Internal Revenue Service or environmental regulations.
Not all Republicans are willing to abandon a campaign popular among GOP voters and activists to strip federal funding from the women’s health organization. But many GOP lawmakers in both the House and Senate say they don’t want the issue to derail the spending bill needed to prevent a government shutdown when current funding expires on Dec. 11.
“We don’t win doing that,” said Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R., Ga.), who supports cutting off federal funding for Planned Parenthood. “I don’t think anybody wants to use shutting down the government as leverage for anything.”
The House previously attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, which has come under fire after a series of videos alleging the organization had profited from the selling of fetal remains, in a battle over the current continuing resolution. However, the vote was mostly symbolic since, as 7th District Rep. Rob Woodall noted, there was no Planned Parenthood funding in the spending bill. The House and Senate passed a two year budget deal last week that defines the total amount of money available to spend in Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017. December 11 is the deadline for deciding how to spend that money.