WH won't commit to defunding Planned Parenthood in spending bill

WH won't commit to defunding Planned Parenthood in spending bill

The White House refused to commit Monday to defunding Planned Parenthood in an upcoming must-pass spending bill, a sign it’s looking to avoid a government shutdown over the hot-button issue. 

President Trump viewed the now-dead Republican healthcare bill as “an opportunity to defund” Planned Parenthood, according to press secretary Sean Spicer, who wouldn’t say whether the president would demand defunding in future legislation.

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“I don’t want to get ahead of our legislative strategy,” Spicer told reporters. “We’ll look at other opportunities, but this was definitely one that was a way to make that happen.”

The comments set a marker for talks on the government spending bill, which Congress must pass by April 28 to avoid a shutdown. 

Conservative Republicans are pushing for action defunding Planned Parenthood to be included in the measure. But doing so could make it impossible to pass through the Senate, where it will likely need 60 votes to pass. 

But Democrats, whom Republicans will need to break a potential filibuster of the bill, are deeply opposed to defunding the organization.

Trump has publicly needled members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, who want to defund Planned Parenthood, for opposing the GOP healthcare plan. 

“Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!” Trump tweeted early Sunday.