By Sarah Ferris - 09/02/15 05:58 PM EDT
The Obama administration on Wednesday awarded more than $1 million in grants to Planned Parenthood to help promote ObamaCare, a move that is drawing GOP criticism at a time when the healthcare provider is under congressional investigation.
Rep. Diane BlackDiane BlackIvanka sells Trump childcare to Capitol Hill Trump calls congresswoman to stage at child care policy speech Overnight Healthcare: Zika funding stalemate drags on | Tighter rules for ObamaCare sign-ups | New EpiPen probe MORE (R-Tenn.) blasted the White House’s decision as “unconscionable” in light of allegations of illegal activity in the health provider’s fetal tissue program, which has prompted key Republicans to call for a total defunding of the organization.
“A growing body of evidence suggests that Planned Parenthood broke federal law and now the Obama administration is thumbing its nose at Congress and taxpayers by using this backdoor maneuver to boost funding for the scandal-ridden abortion giant,” Black wrote in a statement Wednesday.
She is the lead author of three bills to defund Planned Parenthood, one of which she says has been promised a vote by House GOP leadership.
The Obama administration on Wednesday announced nearly $70 million in federal grants to groups promoting the healthcare law. The grants will go to 100 groups in 34 states, including three Planned Parenthood affiliates.
The provider’s affiliates in Iowa, Missouri and Montana will receive about $1 million in total.
Grants were also awarded to groups like the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, AIDS Alabama and Oak Hill Missionary Baptist Church Ministries. Any organization that helps sign people up for ObamaCare can apply for the grants, which can be used to help train navigators and promote the law generally.
This year’s funding pool is larger than last year’s of $60 million, though the new grants must last through 2018. It is the third round of grants from the Department of Health and Human Services.
“This year’s Navigator grantees will help expand access to local help in many states,” the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wrote in a statement.
Much of the sign-ups for ObamaCare have been driven by outside help, including a group founded by Obama allies called Enroll America. That organization has faced funding challenges, however, and has downsized since the first enrollment period.
Enroll America praised this year’s funding pool, which it highlighted as an increase from that in 2014.