Having a Vice President cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate is supposed to be a rare event. Something that is hardly ever needed, and only used in the most precarious moments. That Vice President Pence has already been called on twice during the Trump era speaks volumes of how divided and broken Washington, D.C. has become.
The Vice President was again called to the Senate on Thursday when the legislative body came to an impasse and was deadlocked at 50-50 on an important abortion-related vote.
Several years ago the Obama administration crafted a rule that blocked states from refusing federal grant money to abortion providers, last month the House voted to rescind the rule and if the Senate does the same the bill will go to President Trump for a signature.
The Obama administration argued that they wrote the rule to allow states to direct federal grant money to clinics where abortions might be provided, however what it actually did was FORCE states to direct federal grant money to abortion providers. The new Republican authored bill does nothing so despotic, it actually gives the states the freedom to decide how the grant money is used. Since the bill does not force states to withhold grant money from abortion providers, it only gives them the option to do so, and would seem to be a perfect example of how federalism is supposed to work, with each state having the right to govern themselves. However, since it would likely mean less money for abortion providers in conservative states – Democrats came out against it and they were joined by two of the usual turncoats, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maine’s Susan Collins (R-ME).
The bills were co-authored by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) who then wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner explaining why the bill was necessary.
In what has been described as a “final parting gift to Planned Parenthood,” the Obama administration issued a rule at the end of December to secure federal Title X family planning grants for Planned Parenthood and interfere with states’ ability to make their own decisions about the best eligible providers for their citizens.
Rarely do the American people benefit when the federal government attempts to subvert the will of the people’s elected representatives and substitute its judgment for that of state or local governments. State legislatures around the country have spoken out about their preference for prioritizing more comprehensive primary and preventative care providers for the receipt of Title X funding, and their voice should be respected by bureaucrats in the federal government.
With this in mind, next week we plan to introduce resolutions in the House and Senate to overturn the Obama administration’s 11th hour rule to entrench federal funding for Planned Parenthood – the nation’s single largest provider of abortion…
According to its 2014-2015 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortion procedures in just one year. Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the abortion industry in this country…
This is a major win for conservatives, and for federalism, but it also marks a worrisome trend and suggests that the Vice President may be forced to intervene in Senate matters more often than is traditionally required. Either the GOP needs to rein in their errant members (like Murkowski and Collins), or voters need to send new Senators to Washington to ensure that Pence isn’t needed so often on the Hill.