Healthcare

GOP budget leader: Spending bill doesn't fund Planned Parenthood

A top House Republican is asserting that the short-term government spending bill includes no funding for Planned Parenthood, a last-ditch effort to quell the conservative rebellion threatening the measure's fate.

"Just to make the record crystal clear, there's just simply not a dime in here for Planned Parenthood," Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said during a markup of the spending bill by the House Rules Committee.

"I would hope even our colleagues who have sharp disagreement because of this would see fit that the entire government is funded for this period of time, since their concerns literally are not well-founded where this bill is concerned," he told the committee.

The stopgap spending bill, which must pass the House on Wednesday, lasts only through mid-December. Cole told members Wednesday that the next round of federal grants to Planned Parenthood would not be doled out until the spring.

Planned Parenthood receives the bulk of its $400 million in federal funding through Medicaid - a portion that is not controlled by Congress.

"I just want to make it clear what they're voting on - what's there, and what's not there," said Cole, who leads the House Budget subcommittee on health department spending. He added that he had recently confirmed with federal health officials that grants would not go out until April.

Cole has been privately telling members for weeks that their opposition to the government spending bill would not actually affect Planned Parenthood's funding. Instead, he urged the conservatives to pass the short-term bill and "give us a chance to work at a larger agreement, and we'll see what people want to do."

In the same meeting,the Rules Committee heard from Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), who is leading the effort to oppose the spending bill because of Planned Parenthood.

Mulvaney offered an amendment to defund the organization, co-sponsored by several other House conservatives, though it received a cold reception by even Republicans on the committee.

"Why can't the folks who oppose this funding just concede that a funding prohibition won't do any good?" Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) said during the markup. "And why can't the folks who support this funding just concede that a funding prohibition won't do any harm?"

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