41 senators vow to oppose Planned Parenthood rider

Forty-one senators have pledged to filibuster any bipartisan spending bill that includes an amendment to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood, threatening an impasse with House conservatives.
 
The group, led by Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance Bottom line Polls show big bounce to Biden ahead of Super Tuesday MORE (D-Calif.), includes thirty-nine Democratic senators and two Independents, Sens. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters Republicans not immune to the malady that hobbled Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election MORE (Vt.).
 

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It’s just large enough to sustain a filibuster to block any spending bill that cuts Planned Parenthood funding from passing the upper chamber.

Congress is trying to reach an agreement on a spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. The current continuing resolution keeping the government operational runs through April 8.
 
The group outlined their opposition in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Supreme Court vacancy — yet another congressional food fight Trump seeks to turn around campaign with Supreme Court fight On The Trail: Battle over Ginsburg replacement threatens to break Senate MORE (D-Nev.) and GOP leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' House to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power Republican lawyers brush off Trump's election comments MORE (Ky.), asking Reid and McConnell to “stand with us against extreme proposals by some members of the House to eliminate support for women’s health and family planning programs and providers that service millions of women and families.”
 
H.R. 1, the package of spending cuts the House passed in February, would eliminate the Title X family planning program.
 
The lawmakers also said they would “oppose the provision in the House-passed continuing resolution that cuts Planned Parenthood health centers off from federal funds used to provide cancer screenings, birth control and other preventative health care services to three million Americans every year.”
 
“Without access to these services, many of these women will be unable to get preventive screenings, be at far greater risk for diseases such as cancer and will face more unintended pregnancies,” they wrote.
 
Several Republican senators have already voiced opposition to the House cuts.
 
Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Overnight Energy: Trump officials finalize plan to open up protected areas of Tongass to logging | Feds say offshore testing for oil can proceed despite drilling moratorium | Dems question EPA's postponement of inequality training Poll: 57 percent of Americans think next president, Senate should fill Ginsburg vacancy MORE (R-Alaska) wrote a letter to Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and ranking member Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranEspy wins Mississippi Senate Democratic primary Bottom Line Mike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid MORE (R-Miss.) stating their belief that “Planned Parenthood provides vital services to those in need.”
 
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Poll: 57 percent of Americans think next president, Senate should fill Ginsburg vacancy On The Trail: Making sense of this week's polling tsunami MORE (R-Maine) has also said she would oppose elimination of Title X funding.

Republicans are facing major pressure from conservative activists to keep the cuts intact. The anti-abortion-rights group Susan B. Anthony List released statements Monday from five potential Republican presidential candidates voicing their support for the amendment, proposed by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.).
 
Reid has already declared the Planned Parenthood rider would not be part of a final deal with the House on 2011 spending levels.

—Jordan Fabian contributed.

Correction: Sen. Thad Cochran did not sign the Murkowski letter on Planned Parenthood. Incorrect information appeared in an earlier version of this story.