The House on Thursday afternoon approved two resolutions that would amend the FY 2011 spending bill to block funding designated for Planned Parenthood and last year's healthcare law. But House passage is largely symbolic, as the Senate did not pass either of the bills.
Votes in both the House and the Senate were a condition that Republicans insisted on as part of last week's agreement on funding for the rest of the fiscal year.
The House approved the Planned Parenthood amendment, H.Con.Res. 36, by a 241-185 vote. All but seven Republicans voted voted for it, and they were joined by just 10 Democrats.
The Senate defeated the amendment by a 42 to 58 vote. It would have required 60 votes to pass.
The vote followed a brief but tense debate in which one Republican charged that Planned Parenthood covers up criminal behavior in the process of performing abortions.
"This is an organization that has protected those who prey on our children and has protected those who rape our granddaughters," said Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) "Planned Parenthood holds itself out to be above the law by ignoring mandatory reporting requirements, by skirting parental consent, but aiding and abetting child trafficking. They put quick and secret abortions ahead of the welfare of victimized young girls, and it has to stop."
Democrats argued that federal funds are already prohibited from being used to fund abortion, and said defunding Planned Parenthood would cut of vital health services for women.
"Today's legislation, which has no chance of passing the Senate and becoming law, thank God, is just part of the Republican agenda that is the most comprehensive and radical assault on women's health and reproductive freedom in our lifetime, and that's saying something," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.
The House approved the bill to defund the healthcare law, H.Con.Res. 35, by a 240-185 in which three Democrats joined every voting Republican in support.
The Senate defeated the same measure 47 to 53. It needed 60 votes to pass.
The House's vote is similar to the House vote in January to repeal the healthcare law, which passed 245-189, again with three Democrats in support.