(CNSNews.com) – At his press briefing on June 8, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) did not say whether he is committed to fully defunding Planned Parenthood by prohibiting Title X money from going to the organization.
Also, despite numerous emails and telephone calls to his press office and press secretary, the speaker would not clarify his position, strongly suggesting that he does not intend to prohibit the Title X funding through appropriations for fiscal year 2018.
At the press briefing, CNSNews.com asked Speaker Ryan: “President Trump's budget calls for prohibiting ‘any funding in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill,’ including Title X money, from going to Planned Parenthood. Are you committed to making sure the House appropriations bill for the 2018 fiscal year prohibits all funding--including Title X funding--for Planned Parenthood?”
Ryan did not answer the question directly but said: “We’ve made two great progresses on this issue, and I think the best place is because we don’t want to have to go over a 60-vote threshold -- which we know we can’t pass that, with 60 votes in the Senate -- is to reconcile this.”
“That is why this is in our reconciliation package,” he said. “So, it’s more important for us to deliver the result than to just have the issue. And to deliver the result to stop fungible money from going to finance abortion is to do it through reconciliation.”
“We also passed a bill, giving the states the ability, through our CRA approach, to themselves cut off Title X funding,” he said.
The House passed a reconciliation package on May 4 that prohibits Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood for one year. That legislation is now in the Senate and requires a simple majority – 51 votes – to pass. However, the reconciliation package does not cut off Title X money to Planned Parenthood.
Those funds would have to be prohibited through a regular appropriations process for the funding of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), from where the Title X money is disbursed. Speaker Ryan did not say whether he would do this or whether he supported it.
As for the states prohibiting Title X money, Ryan was referring to House Joint Resolution 43, which President Donald Trump signed on April 13, and which reversed a December 2016 Obama administration regulation that prevented states from denying Title X funding to Planned Parenthood.
With that resolution, states may or may not deny funding to Planned Parenthood. The federal government does not prohibit it. Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, however, does strip out all Title X money to Planned Parenthood.
CNSNews.com attempted to follow up with the Speaker’s office via phone and email multiple times about whether he intended to prohibit Title X funding from going to Planned Parenthood in an appropriations bill.
In the multiple queries, CNSNews.com specifically asked: “Is Speaker Ryan committed to having the House pass a Labor/HHS appropriations bill that prohibits Title X funding from going to Planned Parenthood?”
Speaker Ryan’s office did not respond.
Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider. It kills more than 300,000 babies every year. Its latest annual report for 2015-16 shows Planned Parenthood performed 328,348 abortions.
The non-profit group also received $554.6 million in government health services reimbursements and grants, which is taxpayer money.
According to the Office of Management and Budget, President Trump’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year would prohibit Title X funding from going to Planned Parenthood.
It says, in part:
SEC. 520. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds made available by this Act may be made available either directly, through a State (including through managed care contracts with a State), or through any other means, to a prohibited entity.
(b) PROHIBITED ENTITY.—The term "prohibited entity" means an entity, including its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, and clinics— (1) that, as of the date of enactment of this Act…
(C) performs, or provides any funds to any other entity that performs, abortions, other than an abortion—(i) if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest; or (ii) in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself; and
(2) for which the total amount of Federal grants to such entity, including grants to any affiliates, subsidiaries, or clinics, under title X of the Public Health Service Act in fiscal year 2016 exceeded $23,000,000.