Monday, July 24, 2017

Senate Casts First Vote Tuesday on Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

The Senate will cast its first vote on Tuesday on legislation to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Republicans will find out tomorrow which of their members oppose moving forward on the bill that also repeals Obamacare.

The legislation has been pending for many weeks and even months as Republicans have been attempting to come up with a version that would please both conservative lawmakers as well as pro-abortion Republicans who are resistant to defunding the nation’s biggest abortion company.

The Senate will move forward on the bill to repeal Obamacare and defund the Planned Parenthood abortion company if they receive more than 50 votes tomorrow.

“The only way we’ll have an opportunity to consider ideas is if senators have an opportunity to offer and debate them and that means kicking off debate, it means voting to proceed,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday on the Senate floor. “And that will occur tomorrow.”

“When the vote comes up, I’ll keep my commitment to move beyond the failures of Obamacare,” McConnell said. “I will vote yes on the motion to proceed and I would urge all of my colleagues to do the same.”

The vote has been complicated by the absence of Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who is home after surgery to remove a blood clot, and was later diagnosed with brain cancer. McCain is expected to vote for defunding Planned Parenthood and repealing Obamacare if he is able to fly to Washington for the vote to proceed.

Also complicating efforts is the news that the Senate parliamentarian may have killed the Senate bill that would defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business and repeal Obamacare.

Senate Republicans have been using the reconciliation Bill to get around a filibuster by pro-abortion Democrats who oppose defunding the nation’s biggest abortion company and repealing prohibition Obamacare that has included taxpayer-financed abortions.

The parliamentarian issued guidance saying that key portions of the defunding measure require 60 votes to pass. That’s a departure from the ruling the parliamentarian issued in 2015 concerning the same bill to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. The ruling then paved the way for a 50-vote passage and sending the bill to pro-abortion President Barack Obama, who vetoed it.

Getting 50 votes for the bill to defund Planned Parenthood has been a difficult enough prospect because three pro-abortion Republican women oppose defunding the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Requiring 60 votes for ultimate passage of the legislation would essentially kill it.

But there could be a solution.

As the Washington Times reports, “Some conservatives argue that Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, can overrule the parliamentarian while presiding over the chamber, though many Republicans are leery of making such a bold move.”

The office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the parliamentarian’s guidance is not a ruling and there is time to tweak the language, though the roadblock further clouds plans to vote Tuesday to take up a House-passed bill, work through amendments and reach for final passage.

It’s unclear whether enough senators will take leadership’s advice and vote to act on the bill this week or risk pushing members of the Republican base to link arms with Democrats to block debate.

With Sen. John McCain of Arizona absent because of his sudden cancer diagnosis, Republican leaders cannot afford more than one defection and still proceed with the bill or pass a plan.

“We are going to vote this week, and I think until the vote is actually on the floor of the Senate, some people may not tell you what they’re actually going to do,” Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, told CBS’ “Face the Nation. “We all got elected to legislate, and that’s why we’re here.”

The White House is imploring senators to start debate so they can throw Obamacare into the dustbin, saying they are just a few votes shy of fulfilling their seven-year promise.

“ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction. It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.
Three pro-abortion Republicans have announced they will prevent the Senate from debating the bill. That includes Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who have been thorns in the side of the pro-life movement for years.

But it also includes Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia — who voted for the exact same legislation previously. Her flip-flop prevents Republicans from getting the 50 votes they need to allow pro-life vice president Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the bill. Capito announced her opposition to the bill, the same piece of legislation she voted to pass in 2015 under former President Barack Obama, who vetoed the measure. . . . Read More

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