White House blasts GOP's ‘fascination' with Planned Parenthood

White House blasts GOP's ‘fascination' with Planned Parenthood
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The Obama administration is digging in against the GOP’s "fascination" with defunding Planned Parenthood this summer, which it argued has brought the government to the brink of a shutdown.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Wednesday said he blames Republicans — and their field of presidential candidates — for concentrating attention on defunding the women's health provider at a time when they should be funding the government.

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“The way that Republicans, including some Republican candidates last night, have injected this ideological issue in the midst of the budget debate, has made it more difficult to reach a bipartisan budget debate and does have consequences of the ability of the Congress to reach a budget agreement, which also has significant consequences for our economy,” Earnest said.

“The president is hopeful that this will be one of those rare instances in which common sense will actually prevail on Capitol Hill,” Earnest said.

He repeatedly compared the GOP’s campaign to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding to the party's previous efforts against ObamaCare in 2013, which provoked a two-week government shutdown.

“I’m not really sure what the Republican fascination is with taking healthcare away from millions of American families, but it’s not something the president is going to agree with,” Earnest said.

Earnest’s remarks offer a preview of the White House’s plan of attack if Republicans fail to reach a government funding deal by Sept. 30. Democrats have taken a tough stance against the GOP’s Planned Parenthood strategy with just seven legislative days left to pass a budget resolution.

The White House has been notably vocal this week after weeks of declining to go into specifics about the controversy that has plagued Planned Parenthood since July, with the release of a series of videos detailing the group's fetal tissue program.

Earnest rebuked of the GOP for not having settled on a funding strategy in the opening minute of his daily briefing on Thursday. Hours earlier, officials released a pair of veto threats against legislation targeting Planned Parenthood at the same time that several Republican presidential candidates amplified their rhetoric against the group.

Also on Wednesday, Earnest acknowledged for the first time that he had seen the videos, calling them “shocking.” He later pointed out that Planned Parenthood had apologized for what had been captured in the videos, which Earnest said Obama believes “was an appropriate thing for Planned Parenthood to do.”