Greg Nash
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) slammed Republicans Thursday, suggesting that they “hijacked” a bill aimed at increasing access to fertility services at the Department of Veterans Affairs. 
 
“I was disappointed yesterday to see my Republican colleagues try and manipulate a good veterans bill — a noble bill — for political purposes,” the Democratic leader said, adding that Republicans “put Fox News ahead of the welfare of American veterans.”
 
{mosads}Reid’s remarks come after Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked that her legislation be pulled from the agenda of Wednesday’s Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, where it had been expected to receive a vote.
 
Murray’s legislation would expand the VA’s fertility services and lift a ban on veterans’ access to in vitro fertilization. 
 
The Washington Democrat said that Republicans on the committee wanted to attach “poison pill” amendments to the bill, adding that they decided “to leap at the opportunity to pander to their base.”
 
Reid praised Murray’s decision to stop the legislation from being voted on, saying that she “didn’t want a good, bipartisan bill hijacked by a few Republicans looking to get their names on Fox News.”
 
But Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who lead the Republican push to change Murray’s bill, quickly fired back, saying his amendments weren’t “political attacks.”
 
Three amendments he said were focused on improving government efficiency, while another would prevent the VA from working with organizations “that take human aborted babies’ organs and sell them.”
 
But the move could have put Murray’s bill on a collision course with a separate fight over Planned Parenthood. 
 
Republicans are currently up in arms over two videos that show Planned Parenthood officials talking about the preservation of fetal tissue and the cost of saving and using the tissue. 
 
The Department of Justice said Wednesday that it would review the two videos and information surrounding the videos and decide what, if any, steps to take. 
 
Meanwhile, 50 senators — including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell that called on her department to “fully cooperate” with the congressional investigations.  
Tags Harry Reid Joe Manchin Patty Murray Sylvia Burwell

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