House GOP leaders yanked legislation from the floor on Tuesday to create a pink gold commemorative coin that would help raise money for breast cancer research.
Heritage Action, an influential conservative group, urged Republicans earlier in the day to vote against the measure because they objected to money from the coin sales going toward the Susan G. Komen foundation, which has had ties to Planned Parenthood.
It's the second time House Republican leaders have yanked legislation from the floor in less than a week due because of a lack of votes. Leaders scuttled a spending bill for the Interior Department last Thursday because of controversy over the display of the Confederate flag in national cemeteries.
The bipartisan breast cancer research bill, which was authored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas), was slated for a vote Tuesday afternoon under a fast-track process that requires a two-thirds majority for passage. The procedure, known as suspension of the rules, is typically reserved for bills that pass with an overwhelming majority.
But without enough Republicans on board due to concerns about funding going toward abortions, the legislation lacked the votes for moving forward. The bill could be brought up again within the next two days as leadership moves to resolve concerns about which organizations would be recipients of research funding.
A resolution could come by the end of the week.
“We are working to ensure that charitable organizations which receive funding from this legislation are 100 percent focused on diagnosing, treating, and curing breast cancer,” a House GOP leadership aide said.
At the start of the day, the legislation had 307 cosponsors, 142 of which were Republicans.
In a remarkable demonstration of how quickly the legislation had become more partisan, 21 Republicans lined up on the House floor late Tuesday afternoon to remove their names as co-sponsors.
Proponents insist the measure isn’t stalled just yet.
"Funding for breast cancer research is incredibly important to millions of American families. I remain hopeful that this bill will pass, and I’m working right now to make sure that happens," Maloney said in a statement after the bill was removed from the vote schedule.
Under the bill, the U.S. Treasury would issue $5 pink gold, $1 silver and half-dollar commemorative coins in 2018 recognizing breast cancer research efforts.
Revenue from coin sales that goes beyond recovering the costs of producing the coins would be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Maloney said during floor debate that the coins offered a way to increase up to millions of dollars in funding for breast cancer research without spending taxpayer money.
“There is only one thing and one thing only that can possibly save these lives, and that is research,” Maloney said. “Money buys research and research saves lives.”
The design on the coins would be chosen by a public competition judged by an expert panel. Members of the panel would include the Treasury Secretary as well as members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and Commission of Fine Arts.
House Republican leaders pulled three other bills regarding border security, abortion and reforming the No Child Left Behind law this year. The abortion and education bills were eventually resurrected months later.
— Last updated at 5:53 p.m.