Planned Parenthood and "Obamacare" are two things that have been eyed for the chopping block from Republicans for some time, not to mention a key political point in many past elections for both parties, and likely forward. The Republican establishment and leadership has been fighting against defunding both, with the exception of a few "show votes," but according to Real Clear Politics, the republican-led senate might have just managed to craft a bill to kill two federally-funded programs with one stone.
The bill to defund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood's federal funding passed 52-47, despite the obvious fact that President Obama has threatened to veto the legislation when it hits his desk. President Obama did get the entire set of the Democrats in senate, plus Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine went against the Republican majority to vote against defunding for Planned Parenthood and Obamacare. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell spoke in favor of the defunded Obamacare section of the law.
"Americans are living with the consequences of this broken law and its broken promises every day. Its negative effects are often felt in the most personal and visceral ways. And Americans are tired of being condescended to. They want change and they want a bridge to better care, not Obamacare. This bill offers it."
NBC News reports that the Senate used a procedure known as the "Nuclear option," which was started by President Nixon, used by President George W. Bush, and used by Senator Harry Reid, among other politicians to achieve the necessary voting threshold of a simple 51 vote majority, as opposed to 60.
President Obama will likely veto the defunding legislation, as the Republicans pushing this legislation are not plentiful enough to meet the two-thirds threshold to override the President's veto, and some Republicans have actually pushed bills to save the funding for the Planned Parenthood section of this legislation. In fact, two pieces of legislation failed to save funding for Planned Parenthood. One bill that the senate voted on was from Democrats, and the other was from "moderate" establishment Republicans.
Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens used the tragedy in Colorado Springs to make an emotional appeal against defunding Planned Parenthood.
"It seems implausible that less than a week after a tragic shooting at the Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs some in Washington chose politics over compassion. What millions of people across this country needed in the wake of two unspeakable acts of violence this week, in Colorado and in California, was reassurance that lawmakers care about the lives, health and safety of the people they represent," Laguens said. "What they got instead was the cold shoulder of indifference."
Surprisingly, the Planned Parenthood and Obamacare defunding bill has already stirred some political tensions, and sparked speeches for future races like the one in New Hampshire. New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan criticized her sitting U.S. Senate opponent Kelly Ayotte for her support of defunding Planned Parenthood, and not supporting the expansion of state's Medicaid.
"I'm extremely disappointed that Kelly Ayotte has consistently put corporate special interests and her party's leadership ahead of New Hampshire, and that she has vowed to vote yet again to repeal New Hampshire's bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan and defund Planned Parenthood."
The walls of Obamacare seem to be crumbling around it, as premiums rise each year and as a major insurer United Healthcare might abandon the fledgling healthcare law, it seems that it might not matter if the defunding legislation survives or not.
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