According to people briefed on the matter, Vice President Mike Pence has had backdoor discussions with anti-abortion advocates and GOP lawmakers and reassured everyone that Planned Parenthood would lose federal funding if it didn’t end abortions.
GOP lawmakers will reportedly insert the provision to strip federal money from the abortion giant in the bill designed to replace Obamacare.
Pence will meet Friday with people that oppose abortion at the White House. However, he had said earlier that the Obamacare replacement would defund PP. Sources say that Pence will address the Hyde Amendment issue during those discussions, as well. That provision prevents federal funds from being used for abortions through Medicaid, and some anti-abortion advocates are concerned the GOP Congress would get rid of it with the new bill. Anti-abortion advocates will reportedly ask from Pence to prevent tax credits from funding abortions too.
However, it is unclear whether these proposals would survive a parliamentary challenge from Democratic Senators. They could argue that the proposals do not up or lower federal spending so, they could strike them down through a 51-vote majority reconciliation process. The procedure is designed to prevent filibusters of legislative initiatives that seek to boost spending or make budget savings.
Sources also said that the Vice President is poised to prop up the Hyde Amendment, which was first passed in 1976 and was last altered in 1993 to include exceptions in case of rape or incest.
People familiar with the matter said the White House and a dozen GOP lawmakers discussed the future of the health care bill Thursday during an unofficial gathering on the bowling front. Sources said that the Republicans invited to the White House hold leadership positions but they’re lukewarm on abortion issues. Reportedly, lawmakers were asked to get more aggressive in gathering votes to pass the new health care bill.
Meanwhile, the president had a private meeting with Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, two Republican lawmakers that staunchly oppose the proposed Obamacare replacement, to probably persuade them to change their mind.
Earlier this week, Planned Parenthood rejected president Trump’s offer to continue its business on federal funding only if it stopped providing abortion services. Trump told the organization that he would cut $500 million in federal funds if PP continues to perform abortions.
PP representatives noted that federal funds are not used for abortions in the first place and refused to focus exclusively on breast cancer and cervical cancer prevention and other preventative screenings.
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