Two days from now, the Speaker of the House will do something rather historic — set the agenda of the Senate. Harry Reid has scheduled one of two floor votes required by John Boehner in the budget agreement for Thursday, the standalone effort to bar federal funds from going to ObamaCare:
The next step in the battle to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business came when pro-life House Speaker John Boehner forced pro-abortion Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to do something he swore he wouldn’t do: allow a vote. The Senate will vote on Thursday.
House Republicans have already approved the Pence Amendment to yank tens of millions of dollars from the abortion business that it receives under Title X. Now, it’s the Senate’s turn and pro-life groups like Americans United for Life are urging senators to vote for de-funding.
“This is the vote that Washington, DC insiders said we’d never get, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid swore he would never allow,” AUL said.
It’s not the first time that an effort to defund Planned Parenthood has come to the Senate floor. Louisiana’s David Vitter tried in 2007 to strip funding to the nation’s largest abortion provider, but lost on a 41-52 vote. In that cycle, no Democrat supported the measure, not even the supposedly pro-life Ben Nelson of Nebraska nor Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
However, the ground has shifted on this debate in at least two important ways. First, the federal deficit has skyrocketed since FY2007, the final Republican budget, which had a shortfall of $161 billion. Voters are much more engaged on budgets and deficits than they were in 2007, shortly after they elected Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress that pushed the next year’s deficit to over $440 billion. Thanks to last year’s ObamaCare vote, Democrats in the Senate are already on shaky ground, especially Ben Nelson and possibly Bob Casey as well, and others. The vote will force these red-state and purple-state Democrats to explain why, with a budget deficit of $1.6 trillion, the federal government should fund the abortion leader for any purpose, even if one can argue that the federal funds are somehow hermetically sealed away from the abortion process.
We can expect more of the weird “Republicans are Nazi woman-killers” rhetoric to come out of this debate, but the votes here will sting, especially for Democrats who style themselves as pro-life while using taxpayer dollars to subsidize abortion mills. Voters who want an end to the taxpayer gravy train for abortionists should make sure they contact their Senators in the next 48 hours to explain this.