Senate

Top Dem senator to Trump: Weigh in on Planned Parenthood fight

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is calling on President-elect Donald Trump to weigh in on a looming fight over Planned Parenthood. 
 
“I would ask the president elect to Twitter very loudly tomorrow morning … that he stands behind women and that he wants to see the House back down,” the No. 3 Senate Democrat told reporters. 
 
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said earlier Thursday that the House’s ObamaCare repeal bill will defund the organization, though federal dollars are already prohibited from being used to cover abortions.
 
Murray joined with Democrats including Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) on Thursday evening pledging to fight against linking Planned Parenthood to ObamaCare repeal. 
 
Gillibrand added that while Republicans are poised to control both Congress and the White House “this election was not about taking away women’s opportunity to get basic, life-saving healthcare.”
 
{mosads}Trump sent mixed signals on Planned Parenthood during the campaign. 
 
At a rally in Florida he said the organization has done “very good work for millions of women” but that it shouldn’t receive federal funding “as long as you have the abortion going on.” 
 
Trump showed this week that he’s able to impact Congress’s plans from Twitter, helping torpedo a House GOP effort to overhaul an independent ethics office with a tweet criticizing their priorities.
 
Democrats could face an uphill battle to block Republicans from using the repeal bill to cut off federal dollars for Planned Parenthood. Under a process called reconciliation, Republicans will only need 50 votes to clear the legislation through the upper chamber. 
 
That means Democrats must remain united as well as flip at least two GOP senators to block the repeal bill. 
 
Murray floated that moderate Republicans could push back against leadership, but declined to predict the outcome of a potential fight. 
 
“We want voters to know we are going to fight back. We ask them to fight with us … We are just making it clear: Not on our watch,” she said. 
 
Three GOP senators offered an amendment in 2015 to strip a provision targeting Planned Parenthood out of the Senate’s ObamaCare repeal bill. 
 
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), one of the GOP senators, told reporters on Thursday that “I’m not happy to hear that the Speaker wants to include defunding of Planned Parenthood, an extremely controversial issue, in the package.” 

She added that she “may well” offer a similar amendment this time around, but was waiting to see what would pass the House or be included in the Senate’s bill.

Tags Donald Trump Kirsten Gillibrand Patty Murray Paul Ryan Susan Collins
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