November 18, 2015 — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday confirmed that the Senate would move ahead with a vote on a legislation (HR 3762) that would use the budget reconciliation process to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal several of the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) provisions, The Hill reports (Bolton, The Hill, 11/17).
The House in October voted 240-189 to pass the bill. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has said President Obama would veto the measure if it passes through Congress.
The move to defund Planned Parenthood comes after the antiabortion-rights group Center for Medical Progress earlier this year released a series of misleading videos targeting the organization's fetal tissue donation program. Planned Parenthood has stated that the videos were heavily edited and that the filmed officials did not conduct any illegal activities.
The organization said it does not profit from fetal tissue donations (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/26). In October, Planned Parenthood announced that while it will maintain fetal tissue donation programs at some clinics, it no longer will accept reimbursements for the cost of the program (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/14).
Through budget reconciliation, certain legislation can advance in the Senate with a simple majority vote.
The part of the reconciliation measure that targets Planned Parenthood would end federal funding for the organization for one year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, that amounts to about $390 million in Medicaid funding. Meanwhile, the measure would add $235 million in funding for community health centers (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/26).
McConnell on Tuesday said the measure will retain the Planned Parenthood provision and the Senate will consider the bill after Thanksgiving.
McConnell's announcement comes amid speculation that lawmakers would drop the Planned Parenthood provision. According to the Washington Post's "PowerPost," some conservative lawmakers said they would not vote for the measure because it did not do enough to target the ACA. To ensure passage, conservative leadership then considered removing the Planned Parenthood provision to win votes from more moderate conservative lawmakers who might not be comfortable with defunding the organization (Snell, "PowerPost," Washington Post, 11/17).
According to The Hill, congressional sources say the bill does not yet have enough support for passage among conservative lawmakers, with up to eight of them indicating they will not vote for the measure either because it does not adequately target the ACA or because it defunds Planned Parenthood (The Hill, 11/17).