By Alexander Bolton - 04/04/11 04:33 PM EDT
Forty-one senators have pledged to filibuster any bipartisan spending bill that includes an amendment to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood, threatening an impasse with House conservatives.
The group, led by Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerThe Hill's 12:30 Report Sen. Boxer fires back at Sanders aide: 'He wasn't there' Sanders aide questions Boxer's story about fearing for her safety MORE (D-Calif.), includes thirty-nine Democratic senators and two Independents, Sens. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersPelosi, Dems rush to defense of Wasserman Schultz Poll: Clinton leads Trump in Wisconsin by double digits Tea Party group ‘endorses’ Wasserman Schultz MORE (Vt.).
Congress is trying to reach an agreement on a spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. The current continuing resolution keeping the government operational runs through April 8.
The group outlined their opposition in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidGOP senator: Reid's 'ramblings' are 'bitter, vulgar, incoherent' Reid: We're not breaking the budget deal Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo MORE (D-Nev.) and GOP leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellBill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Healthcare: House loosens pesticide rules to fight Zika | A GOP bill that keeps some of ObamaCare | More proof of pending premium hikes Senate votes to block financial adviser rule MORE (Ky.), asking Reid and McConnell to “stand with us against extreme proposals by some members of the House to eliminate support for women’s health and family planning programs and providers that service millions of women and families.”
H.R. 1, the package of spending cuts the House passed in February, would eliminate the Title X family planning program.
The lawmakers also said they would “oppose the provision in the House-passed continuing resolution that cuts Planned Parenthood health centers off from federal funds used to provide cancer screenings, birth control and other preventative health care services to three million Americans every year.”
“Without access to these services, many of these women will be unable to get preventive screenings, be at far greater risk for diseases such as cancer and will face more unintended pregnancies,” they wrote.
Several Republican senators have already voiced opposition to the House cuts.
Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiOvernight Energy: Lawmakers closing in on chemical safety deal GOP chair pushes Obama official on Arctic drilling plan McConnell touts 'Senate squad' in Wes Anderson-style video MORE (R-Alaska) wrote a letter to Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and ranking member Thad CochranThad CochranSenate votes to block USDA catfish inspections GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' First US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico MORE (R-Miss.) stating their belief that “Planned Parenthood provides vital services to those in need.”
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP lawmaker: 'Republicans were wrong’ to block Garland Senate passes broad spending bill with .1B in Zika funds Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE (R-Maine) has also said she would oppose elimination of Title X funding.
Republicans are facing major pressure from conservative activists to keep the cuts intact. The anti-abortion-rights group Susan B. Anthony List released statements Monday from five potential Republican presidential candidates voicing their support for the amendment, proposed by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.).
Reid has already declared the Planned Parenthood rider would not be part of a final deal with the House on 2011 spending levels.
—Jordan Fabian contributed.
Correction: Sen. Thad Cochran did not sign the Murkowski letter on Planned Parenthood. Incorrect information appeared in an earlier version of this story.