Planned Parenthood

Abortion threatens congressional impasse on funding
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 157

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., referred to some GOP colleagues as "sex starved males" on the House floor, setting off a brief spat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats' effort to rescind Trump administration anti-abortion policies threatens to hold up government spending bills. CQ Roll Call reporter Sandhya Raman details the debate and surveys how lawmakers are using abortion politics, both in Washington and the states, to rile their voters ahead of next year's election. 


Omnibus Action Next Week Possible, but Obstacles Still Exist
‘For the moment we have a lot of work to do to iron these out,’ Pelosi said

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said much work remains to iron out issues on an omnibus spending bill that House GOP leaders hope to bring to the floor next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The nearly six-month delayed fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill could be brought to the House floor next week, but appropriators are still encountering major obstacles in drafting a bipartisan bill — even with unrelated landmines cleared. 

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said he would like to bring the omnibus to the floor next week, but during a week-end colloquy with House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, he did not announce it as a definite part of the upcoming floor schedule. Rather, he noted action on the spending package was “possible.”

Democrats Protest Fetal Tissue Report
Walk out of investigative panel formed in the aftermath of Planned Parenthood video controversy

House Democrats on Wednesday walked out of a meeting of a congressional investigative panel launched in the aftermath of the controversy over Planned Parenthood's abortion practices, charging the proceedings amounted to a "witch hunt."

The meeting of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives was to consider a report recommending that the biotech company StemExpress LLC and its founder Catherine Spears Dyer be held in contempt for refusing to comply to subpoenas seeking accounting records relating to research of fetal tissue.

Republicans Say Democrats Obstructing Fetal Tissue Probe
Democrats ramp up efforts to disband panel leading the investigation

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn said the panel's efforts have been hampered by Democratic obstruction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican members on a controversial panel investigating fetal tissue donation practices plan to double down on their efforts to uncover documents from those providers. They slammed their Democratic counterparts Tuesday for what they called "inappropriate" attempts to obstruct those efforts so far.  

The panel, formed after the release last summer of sting videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue, outlined in an 88-page report Thursday industry practices it says are more motivated by profit than women's health. In a news conference, Chairwoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee said many of the committee's efforts have been slowed by Democratic obstruction.  

Republicans Shocked White House Won't Bite on Zika Funding
Obama, aides continue to demand $1.9 billion to fight virus

Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks with a reporters as she leaves the Senate Republicans' policy luncheon on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Veteran Republicans are flabbergasted that the Obama administration has not once budged during four months of talks in demanding nearly $2 billion to fight the Zika virus outbreak, a posture that's helped stall emergency legislation.  

The White House and Democrats who participated in the talks say the sum, first requested in February, reflected what senior federal health officials determined is needed to track the spread of the disease, develop vaccines and study links between Zika and birth defects, among other tasks.  

Obamacare Bill Vetoed With No 'Pomp and Circumstance'

(Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

With little public fanfare, President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed a Republican-crafted measure designed to repeal his signature health care overhaul. But Republican leaders are signaling their repeal push is far from over.  

In a statement, Obama said the health care overhaul "is working," slamming the bill because it would "reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America." "The Affordable Care Act includes a set of fairer rules and stronger consumer protections that have made health care coverage more affordable, more attainable, and more patient centered," Obama added.  

Cruz, Gohmert Want Bust of Planned Parenthood Founder Removed

Cruz, right, speaks as Reps. Louie Gohmert, left, and Michele Bachmann look on during a tea party rally last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two Texas lawmakers are leading a call for a bust of a Planned Parenthood founder to be removed from the National Portrait Gallery.  

"We the undersigned Members of Congress demand that the bust of Margaret Sanger be immediately removed from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and not be displayed in or on any Smithsonian-operated property. The fact that her bust has been included as a part of the Gallery's 'Struggle for Justice' exhibit is an affront both to basic human decency and the very meaning of justice," wrote 26 GOP lawmakers led by Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Louie Gohmert. "Ms. Sanger was an avowed advocate of eugenics and the extermination of groups of people she deemed as 'undesirables.'"  

Rand Paul Leads Call for Audit of Fetal Tissue Research

Paul joined 34 senators in signing the letter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A trio of the Senate's Republican presidential candidates put their names on a letter also signed by a majority of the conference asking for a new inquiry into fetal tissue research.  

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spearheaded the letter to Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson with 34 other Senate Republicans, including Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, both fellow presidential hopefuls. The request, sent Tuesday, stems from a series of videos pertaining to Planned Parenthood.  

Democrats Block Abortion Ban, Set Up Funding Fight

Graham said he will "make sure" the government doesn't shut down. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats successfully blocked the Senate from taking up a bill to bar abortions after 20 weeks, a vote that helps lay the groundwork for keeping the government's doors open.  

The emotional debate on the "pain-capable" anti-abortion legislation championed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., went as one would expect, but the calculus for Republicans on the next step is more complicated. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is viewed as likely to set up procedural votes Thursday on a stopgap government funding resolution that would not be able to advance if it includes a rider against funding for Planned Parenthood favored by the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.  

Highway Bill Might Be Senate's Last Accomplishment Before August

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate's on the road to shipping the House a six-year highway bill before leaving for August recess, despite the fact House members won't be around to debate it.  

Senators voted Wednesday morning to clear the final major procedural hurdle on the highway measure, but that could be the chamber's last significant bill before the August recess, even with the Senate planning to stick around for another week. Other than advancing a three-month bill to keep transportation programs running past the end of July, there's little thus far on the schedule for the first week of August. A procedural vote to take up GOP legislation to bar federal funding to Planned Parenthood could come as early as Monday.