Key Republican: GOP won't add protection for Planned Parenthood in funding bill

Key Republican: GOP won't add protection for Planned Parenthood in funding bill
© Greg Nash

A key Republican on the health-care spending subcommittee said the GOP is rejecting Democratic attempts to add protections for Planned Parenthood funding in the government spending bill.

Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeTo fix retirement, we need to understand it On The Money: Trump banks on Fed, China to fuel 2020 economy | Judge orders parties to try to reach deal in lawsuit over Trump tax returns | Warren targets corporate power with plan to overhaul trade policy Lawmakers point to entitlements when asked about deficits MORE (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Appropriations health subcommittee, said Thursday that Democrats are trying to add language grandfathering in family planning grants to Planned Parenthood, essentially preventing the Trump administration from discretion over the grants and the ability to cut off the funds.

"They don't want the Trump administration to be able to make the decision on these grants," Cole told reporters. "They're trying to grandfather in people that have gotten grants in the past."

"We can't have Republicans voting, effectively, to fund Planned Parenthood," Cole added.

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However, Cole said Republicans are not going so far as to mandate that Planned Parenthood be cut off from the funds, instead saying he is fine with the same language from last year, which would leave the decisions on the grants up to the administration.

"That's the way it was in the last administration, needs to be the same in this administration," Cole said.

Planned Parenthood funding is a contentious issue every year in funding negotiations, and it is rising up again as lawmakers seek to finalize a government funding bill by as soon as next week.

Democrats say that Republicans are still pushing for larger action: cutting Planned Parenthood entirely out of the family planning grants as well as Medicaid funding.

Democrats say Republicans also want a ban on fetal tissue research.

"All of these items remain open, and it’s part of the hold up negotiating everything else in [the health funding bill]," said Matthew Dennis, a spokesman for House Appropriations Committee Democrats.

The Trump administration has put in place new requirements on the family planning grants, which some reproductive rights groups and Democrats worry will make it harder for Planned Parenthood to qualify for funding.