Trump Signs ‘Minibus’-CR That Funds Planned Parenthood and Aborted-Baby-Parts Research

Terence P. Jeffrey | September 28, 2018 | 5:00pm EDT
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( - President Donald Trump today signed a bill the Republican Congress is describing as a combined “minibus” and “continuing resolution” that funds the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services and Education for fiscal year 2019 and funds through Dec. 7 all other government agencies that do not have their own appropriations bills approved by this Sunday.

The law Trump signed also permits funding through fiscal 2019 of Planned Parenthood and federal research that uses tissue taken from aborted babies.

(Here is the text of the bill as signed into law.)

The Senate approved the combined “minibus” and “continuing resolution” on Sept. 18 by a vote of 93 to 7. The seven senators who voted against it included Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and six Republicans. The Republicans included Sen. Pat Toomey (R.-Pa.), Sen. Ben Sasse (R.-Neb.), Sen. David Perdue (R.-Ga.), Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.), Sen. Mike Lee (R.-Utah) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R.-Ariz.).

The House approved the bill on Wednesday evening by a vote of 361 to 61. More House Democrats voted for it (185) than House Republicans (176). Only 5 House Democrats joined the 56 House Republicans who voted against it.

Thus, while the Republicans control a majority of the House, the majority of members who voted for this key spending bill were Democrats, not Republicans.

This bill (H.R. 6157) that funds four major federal departments—Defense, Labor, HHS and Education—for a full fiscal year and includes a CR to fund multiple other departments through Dec. 7 started out as a stand-alone Defense bill in the House of Representatives. The House passed that initial version of H.R. 6157 by a vote of 359 to 49---with only 3 Republicans voting against it (and 46 Democrats).

On July 11, the House Appropriations Committee approved a separate bill to fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Service and Education and Related Agencies (one of Congress’s standard appropriations bills). The version of this bill that passed the House committee included a section that defunded Planned Parenthood and another section that prohibited funding of research using fetal tissue taken from induced abortions.

Section 532 of the Labor-HHS-Education bill, as passed by the House committee, said: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to conduct or support research using human fetal tissue if such tissue is obtained pursuant to an induced abortion.”

Section 533 included language that denied any funding to Planned Parenthood.

[The above section of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriation bill, which passed the House Appropriations Committee on July 11, prohibited federal funding of aborted-baby-parts research. It was removed from the final version of the bill that passed the House on Wednesday and was signed into law by President Trump today.]

However, this House Appropriations Committee’s version of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriation bill—which did defund Planned Parenthood and did defund aborted-baby-parts research--was never brought up on the House floor for a vote.

The Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee—which is chaired by Sen. Richard Shelby (R.-Ala.)—did not include the language in the House bill that defunded Planned Parenthood and aborted-baby-parts research.

When the Senate Republican leadership brought that bill up on the Senate floor on Aug. 23, they “married” it to the Defense appropriations bill. That meant that in order to vote against funding Planned Parenthood and aborted-baby-parts research, a pro-life senator would also need to vote against the bill to fund the Defense Department.

When the Republican Senate leadership initially would not allow a floor vote on an amendment offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) that would have added to this “married” Senate bill language prohibiting funding of Planned Parenthood, Paul went to the Senate floor to speak out about it.

“Big-spending Republicans fear that blocking funding for Planned Parenthood would derail their plans to greatly expand the welfare-warfare state,” he said. “So be it. The public has long known that the Democrats are the abortion party. Now the public will know that many Republicans just pay lip service to pro-life issues and are really more concerned with bloated government spending than with saving lives.”

When Paul challenged them this way, the GOP leadership relented and allowed a vote on his amendment to prohibit Planned Parenthood funding in the “married” Defense-Labor-HHS-Education bill. It lost 45-48.

A House-Senate conference committee then concocted a final version of the bill that added to the “married” Defense-Labor-HHS-Education bill a “continuing resolution” that would fund through Dec. 7 all federal agencies that did not see their normal appropriations bills approved by the end of the fiscal year (which occurs this Sunday, Sept. 30).

This conference committee version, like the Senate version, permitted funding of Planned Parenthood and aborted-baby-parts research.

When it was brought up for a vote on the Senate floor on Sept. 18, Sen. Mike Lee rose to denounce it.

“For the second straight year of unified Republican governance—unified pro-life governance—Congress’s annual spending bills will include no new reforms protecting unborn children or getting federal taxpayers out of the abortion business,” said Lee.

“The House version of this Health and Human Services spending bill included multiple reforms,” said Lee. “It denied taxpayer funds to the largest abortion provider in the country, Planned Parenthood. It eliminated Title X family planning grants, which cross-subsidize abortion providers. It prohibited Federal funding of research on aborted fetal tissue. It included the Conscience Protection Act protecting pro-life people and groups from funding discrimination.”

“Under this bill,” said Lee, “neither the unborn nor taxpayers are any more protected from the abortion industry than they were under President Obama and a unified Democratic Congress.”

When the Republican House leadership brought this bill up for a final vote on Sept. 26, Rep. Barbara Lee (D.-Calif.), a Democratic member of the House Appropriations Committee, gave a speech on the House floor praising it.

“As a member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education funding committee,” she said, “I am pleased to see many good provisions in this bill. This bill eliminates hundreds of poison pill riders, ranging from efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, eliminate teen pregnancy and Title X to dismantling of critical labor and consumer protections.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) both voted for it.

After it passed Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee issued a statement saying: “The U.S. House today approved an Appropriations ‘minibus’ funding bill, which includes the Department of Defense (DOD)), the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) and Education Appropriations bills for fiscal year 2019, as well as a short term Continuing Resolution (CR) to temporarily fund remaining government programs until December 7, 2018. The legislation will now be sent to the White House for final approval.”

The committee’s statement failed to note that this “minibus” and “continuing resolution” also allowed funding of Planned Parenthood and aborted-baby-parts research.

Today, President Donald Trump signed the bill into law.

[On Monday of this week, as reported, the Trump Administration cancelled a $15,900 FDA contract to acquire human fetal tissue to make humanized mice. However, the National Institutes of Health esimated that it is spending $103 million in fiscal year 2018 on human fetal tissue research. It spent $98 million in fiscal 2017 and $103 million in fiscal 2016.]

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