The Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies agreed to Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-WA) additions to the HHS appropriations bill Thursday that will allow Planned Parenthood to be eligible for Title X family planning grants and will fund the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program at the same levels as under the Obama administration.
President Trump has promised to end funding for Planned Parenthood and the administration had planned changes to the family planning and TPP programs, ending $213 million in HHS grants to the TPP Program in July.
The bill now includes “$287 million for the Title X program, the same level of funding as in fiscal year 2017,” and “$108 million for the TPP program."
The proposal also “includes new bill language” for both programs “that directs HHS to administer the program as it was during the Obama Administration.”
Republican Sen. Roy Blunt (MO), the chair of the Senate’s Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, agreed to Sen. Murray’s provision but said in the hearing that he would’ve backed Sen. Steve Daines’(R-MT) amendment allowing the administration to change Title X. However, Daines pulled the amendment expecting it to fail in committee.
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) voted against the bill partly due to the Title X language.
“As written, the bill does not just provide funding for family planning programs, it also prohibits the Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department from changing the current rules for the issuance of Title X grants," a spokesperson for Lankford said in a statement. "Placing this kind of limitation on the current administration is completely unacceptable."
The bill’s language received significant pushback from pro-life groups.
“Senate Republican Leadership should pull this bill immediately to avoid an embarrassing situation where a Republican controlled Senate votes to the left of pro-abortion Democrats on the life issue,” Tom McClusky, Vice President of Government Affairs for March for Life Action said in a statement. “This is a problem that Republican Senators created and it is up to them to make it right, immediately. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and James Lankford (R-OK) deserve praise for speaking up and trying to stop this train wreck before it took off.”
“In the face of the horrors of Planned Parenthood’s activities, Sen. Blunt allowed his own bill to move forward in a way that continues Obama Administration policy to protect the abortion industry,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement.