Dem senator backs defunding Planned Parenthood
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinHeitkamp becomes first Dem to back Pompeo for secretary of State Trump eyes Cold War statute to keep coal burning: report Trump checkmates Democrats in sending Pompeo to North Korea MORE (D-W.Va.) said Monday that he supports cutting off federal funds for Planned Parenthood, hours ahead of a procedural vote on the issue in the Senate.  

“Like many West Virginians, I am very troubled by the callous behavior of Planned Parenthood staff in recently released videos," Manchin said in a statement. "Until these allegations have been answered and resolved, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund this organization." 
 
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Manchin's statement makes him the first Democrat in the Senate to support cutting federal funding for the organization.
 
 
Planned Parenthood has been at the center of a storm over its funding since the release of several secretly recorded videos that showed officials for the group discussing fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has criticized the videos as misleading and heavily edited, and argues it is being victimized by a smear campaign.
 
Manchin's comments come ahead of an expected procedural vote in the Senate on ending debate on proceeding to legislation that would cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood and redirect it to other women's health organizations. 
 
Manchin, who is from a red-leaning state, said instead of giving federal money to Planned Parenthood, "those funds should be sent to other health care providers." 
 
Despite Manchin's announcement that he will break with Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules Duckworth brings her baby to Senate vote, drawing a crowd FreedomWorks backs Jim Jordan for House Speaker MORE (R-Ky.) is unlikely to get the 60 votes needed to proceed with the legislation.
 
The Republican leader would need every Republican and the support of six Democrats to reach 60 votes; a couple of Republicans have suggested they will vote against the bill, and Democrats are largely united in opposition. 
 
Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism Dems to party: Go on offense with Trump’s alleged affairs MORE (D-Nev.) suggested last week that the legislation is designed to "attack women's health [while] disguised as a way to help women." 
 
But Manchin sought to push back against the criticism Monday, saying that he remains "committed to ensuring that all women in West Virginia and America receive the health care services they need.”
 
The West Virginia senator was also the only Democrat to sign on to a letter last month asking Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to "fully comply" with a pair of congressional investigations launched over the videos.