Planned Parenthood no longer ‘hangup’ of spending deal

Planned Parenthood is no longer at the center of the fight to avert a government shutdown, multiple sources said Monday.  

{mosads}Aides from both parties say funding for a Planned Parenthood partner in Puerto Rico is no longer stalling talks on the government’s short-term spending bill, though lawmakers have been cautious not to say they’ve reached an official deal.

Republicans in both chambers have for months pushed a funding package to fight the Zika virus that would have restricted funding from going to Planned Parenthood partner ProFamilias.

But the partisan spat over Zika funding is “no longer the hangup of the CR,” one Senate aide said of the continuing resolution to fund the government through early December.

In exchange, Democrats have agreed to offsets for at least part of the $1.1 billion funding package.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) told reporters Monday that the offsets were “minor,” and that he could ultimately support them because Republicans have dropped the other partisan “political messages.”

“I am told that it has been worked out,” Nelson told reporters Monday evening. He said the GOP’s efforts to block Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and promote the Confederate flag in the bill ”have basically been taken off.”

Senate Republicans have tentatively said they are willing to support language that would allow federal grant dollars to go to ProFamilias, according to two aides.

And in a sign of a potential breakthrough, one aide said the agreement is also expected to earn support from House Republicans, who first added the language to the funding package to combat the spread of Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that can cause severe birth defects if a woman contracts the disease while pregnant.

Senate Democrats have repeatedly blocked the language, which Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has made a priority to eliminate during government funding talks this month.

When asked Monday about a deal, Reid said, “There is still work to be done.

“We’ve made progress. I’m encouraged by the headway that we have made.”

The Senate was expected to vote Monday evening on a bill to fund the government through Dec. 9, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced just hours beforehand that the vote would be postponed until Tuesday afternoon.

McConnell and Reid initially expected to wrap up a deal on a continuing resolution last week.

— Jordain Carney contributed. Updated 6:35 p.m.

Tags Bill Nelson Harry Reid Mitch McConnell
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